A group of lawsuits against the major French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-Aventis, will continue to move forward early this May. US District Judge Kurt Engelhardt has recently scheduled a “Science Day,” set for May 3, which will give the court a chance to learn some of the basic terms and scientific background surrounding the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Currently, over 900 women have filed individual lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis for the false marketing of a particular chemotherapy drug called Taxotere. Taxotere, which is the brand name for the chemical docetaxel, is from the family of taxanes which were originally derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree.
Unlike most chemotherapy drugs, which can cause temporary hair loss, Taxotere is known to cause permanent hair loss in 3-15% of women to receive it, according to competing studies. These numbers make it a common side effect. Although this side effect was well-known by both patients and the manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, since the early 2000s, it was not listed as a side effect of the drug on FDA labeling until December of 2015. Because of this, thousands of women across the United States were given a drug that not informed that it could cause them serious long-term emotional side effects and cause people to see them as cancer patients for the rest of their life.
Now, the 900 lawsuits against the company have been consolidated in a process known as multidistrict litigation (MDL). in this process, all the lawsuits are filed through one US District court, in this case the Eastern District of Louisiana, for discovery. This is usually implemented when many cases are filed concerning nearly identical complaints against one defendant, though it is different from class action lawsuits because each case remains separate.
In this case, nearly a thousand women allege that Sanofi-Aventis preyed on those with cancer by falsely marketing Taxotere as superior to other taxane drugs available on the market which do not cause permanent hair loss. They further claim that the pharmaceutical concealed research on permanent hair loss from its own clinical trials to boost profits.
The case is moving forward quickly as hundreds of women join each month. Judge Engelhardt has set May 3 as the date for a Science Day so that “both parties can explain medical and scientific issues significant to the Taxotere multidistrict litigation (MDL).” Science Days are becoming regular practices for pharmaceutical MDLs because they are often significantly concerned with high level medical and scientific research. The procedure involves a full day of tutorials so that the judge can “learn the methodologies and vocabularies of the scientific disciplines that are involved in the litigations before them.”
Although the litigation is moving quickly, there is still time to get involved. If you are suffering from permanent hair loss, either total or partial, after receiving Taxotere, and were never warned of the risk, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the law offices of trial attorneys Attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online to let them review your case.
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