Is Taxotere Still Being Used?
Yes. Taxotere is still an option for chemotherapy treatments despite considerable evidence from studies and patient claims about its harmful side effects.
Thousands of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of this once-popular chemo medication. Taxotere effectively treats numerous types of cancer by attacking and shrinking cancer cells, but the drug can attack healthy cells, too, which can lead to severe side effects in some individuals. Patients around the country allege the drug manufacturer knew about these dangers but didn’t disclose them on initial warning labels for Taxotere, subjecting countless cancer patients to unnecessary pain and suffering.
Hotze Runkle PLLC is ready to speak with you about your Taxotere case today. We can review the details of your situation to determine whether you qualify for a lawsuit against drug manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis. Call us at (800) 763-6155 to learn more in a free consultation session.
An Overview of Taxotere-Related Legal Battles
Docetaxel is the generic name for Taxotere. French pharmaceutical Rhone-Poulenc patented the drug in 1986. The company merged with Aventis Pharmaceuticals in a cash and stock deal valued at $65 billion in 2004. Later that year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Taxotere to treat cancer via chemotherapy infusions.
Taxotere belongs to a class of drugs called taxanes. They work by attacking cancer cells, shrinking them, and preventing further growth. The medication treats multiple types of cancer, such as breast, stomach, prostate, head, and neck cancers.
By 2010, 1.5 million patients had reportedly been treated with Taxotere worldwide. The chemo drug generated $3.1 billion in annual sales for Sanofi-Aventis.
Some patients filed lawsuits against the manufacturer, alleging in their complaints that the side effects they experienced after using Taxotere were not on warning labels. Eye damage and hair loss were among the most common undisclosed adverse effects.
The decision to consolidate Taxotere hair loss lawsuits into multidistrict litigation (MDL) occurred in 2016. An MDL case differs from a class action lawsuit in a few ways. In an MDL, several plaintiffs represent a class of individuals harmed by the same defendant during a class action case.
With an MDL, multiple individual lawsuits get grouped together, and one judge oversees the initial legal proceedings. The judge listens to pre-trial motions and discovery in a few sample cases called bellwether cases. After determining which bellwether lawsuits should proceed, the judge sends them back to another judge who hears each one individually.
In 2016, one MDL was established against Sanofi-Aventis for hair loss-related suits Another MDL for eye damage cases was established in 2022. A judge in a Louisiana federal district court is handling both MDLs. Currently, there are more than 12,000 eye damage lawsuits and 30,000 hair loss lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis related to Taxotere.
Why Sanofi Faces Lawsuits Related to Taxotere
At one point, the most commonly-known side effects of Taxotere were blood disorders, skin issues, and fluid retention. Patients also knew of the possibility of hair loss.
Although hair loss is common during chemo, the hair often grows back later. However, cancer patients have alleged that Sanofi didn’t provide adequate warning of the drug’s potential to cause permanent alopecia universalis (complete hair loss).
Excessive eye watering, called epiphora, is another common side effect of Taxotere. Epiphora can lead to severe eye damage and vision loss. Sanofi-Aventis acknowledged this potential side effect, but many patients claim the drug company didn’t thoroughly explain the risks in its warning materials.
Taxotere Eye Damage Lawsuits
Although Sanofi-Aventis warned patients about epiphora due to obstructions in the lacrimal duct during chemo with Taxotere, patients believe the drug manufacturer failed to explain the potential for irreversible damage.
A study published in American Medical Association’s Opthalmology Journal concluded that docetaxel secretions in a person’s tears can facilitate tear drainage obstruction and canalicular inflammation that lead to serious complications.
Eye damage lawsuits against Sanofi-Aventis are still in the pre-trial stage of the MDL.
Taxotere Hair Loss Lawsuits
According to court documents, one doctor studied the effects of Taxotere on breast cancer patients in December 2006. He spoke about his findings at a breast cancer symposium, discussing the apparent link between Taxotere and permanent alopecia.
In subsequent Taxotere lawsuits, the plaintiffs argued that Sanofi-Aventis was aware of the risk of Taxotere-induced alopecia since the 2006 symposium but chose not to warn patients and doctors. Some believe the drug company knew of the dangers even before the doctor presented his findings.
In 2016, the Taxotere hair loss lawsuits consolidated into an MDL before one judge for pre-trial motions and discovery. The judge dismissed nearly 200 cases in 2020. This decision came after Sanofi-Aventis updated its drug’s warning labels following FDA demands in 2015.
In 2019, Sanofi won the first two bellwether cases involving hair loss lawsuits. However, an appeals court overturned the decision in February 2022.
Is There a Deadline to File a Taxotere Lawsuit?
You might be able to file a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis if you used Taxotere during chemo to treat your cancer and developed adverse effects like eye damage or permanent alopecia.
Every state has its own statutory time limits for filing lawsuits. Most are between one and five years. A knowledgeable attorney at Hotze Runkle PLLC can help you identify important deadlines and keep your case on track.
Eligibility for Taxotere Lawsuits
You could qualify for a Taxotere lawsuit if you used Taxotere to treat your cancer and developed any of the following conditions or symptoms:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Blocked tear ducts
- Swollen eyelids
- Permanent hair loss
- Blurry vision
- Excessive eye watering
- Vision loss
- Increased eye floaters
- Permanent eye damage
- Stenosis or narrowing of the tear ducts
- Eye itchiness or irritation
Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC Now to Start Your Taxotere Lawsuit
Hotze Runkle PLLC is ready to help you stand up to Sanofi-Aventis and demand accountability for your losses. We believe in holding large companies responsible for the harm they cause. When you come to us for help, you can expect to receive the legal guidance and support you need during this challenging time.
Call (800) 763-6155 today for a free consultation with a dedicated Taxotere lawsuit attorney, or take our online quiz to find out if you’re eligible for a Taxotere lawsuit.