The court proceedings will begin on September 24, 2018 in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Bellwether cases are held to provide parties with some expectation of the outcome in situations where there are a large number of related lawsuits that have been consolidated in MDLs. Examination for discovery is conducted a single judge to promote speed and efficiency of resolution with several cases being singled out for individual trials.
There are approximately 1,272 lawsuits that have been filed against Sanofi-Aventis related to alopecia (permanent hair loss) in breast cancer patients that are currently pending.
Taxotere is one of the Taxane variety of drugs developed from the yew tree and used in a variety of chemotherapies. It works by preventing cancer cells from dividing. The manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis first obtained approval for Taxotere as a treatment for breast cancer in 1996.
The Allegations center around the claim by plaintiffs that Sanofi (as it is now known) promoted Taxotere as more effective than a competing drug known as Taxol.
Had Taxotere been the only option the women had perhaps they would have accepted the hair loss risk. However a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine study showed that Taxol was as effective as or more effective than Taxotere.
“Hair loss is a known and accepted side effect of chemotherapy, injured women claim that Sanofi-Aventis the drug maker provided false and misleading information that suggested hair regrows after Taxotere treatment,” says cardiologist and mass torts attorney, Dr. Shezad Malik from the Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm in Dallas, Texas.
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Among those cases involved in the MDL is the case of Ami Dodson from California. In March, in an exclusive interview with her attorney Anna Dubrovsky from the Anna Dubrosky Law Firm in San Francisco Dubrovsky said her client’s statement of claim alleges it, “misled the plaintiff, the public and medical community to believe that, as with other chemotherapy drugs that cause alopecia (hair loss) the patients hair would grow back”.
“The outcome of the bellwether trial will be closely watched,” says Dr. Malik who currently represents some of the women involved in the Taxotere case.