multidistrict litigation

Sanofi Wins Taxotere Trial Over Hair Loss Claims

More than 12,000 individuals have filed lawsuits against Sanofi over claims that the pharmaceutical giant’s breast cancer drug, Taxotere, caused them to develop permanent hair loss.

Plaintiffs have alleged that had they known about the risk of permanent hair loss, they would have discussed other options with their doctor. The lawsuits also allege that Sanofi was aware that Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss as opposed to temporary hair loss that sometimes occurs with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

However, juries in the first two bellwether trials, or test cases, have cleared Sanofi of liability. The most recent verdict was returned Nov. 19, 2021 in a New Orleans federal court. In that decision, the jury found that Sanofi provided sufficient warning to a Louisiana woman, Elizabeth Kahn, Reuters reported.

Taxotere cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Chris Coffin, an attorney representing Kahn, told Reuters in an email, “While disappointed in the result, we are confident that the evidence against Sanofi will result in positive verdicts for plaintiffs around the country in the future.”

Coffin also indicated that the Kahn decision would be appealed. Kahn sued Sanofi in 2016. She started using Taxotere in 2008. Her complaint alleges that as a result of taking the drug for breast cancer, she has suffered from alopecia.

Sanofi is not the only defendant named in the MDL. Since Taxotere also goes by the generic version docetaxel, other manufacturers of the drug as well as distributors are facing litigation for their alleged connection to claims of alopecia.

Categories MDL

Courts Consolidate Xarelto Bleeding Lawsuits

Big Pharma started 2015 with the news that two U.S. courts consolidated groups of Xarelto lawsuits that claim the blood thinner caused severe bleeding, some of which caused drug recipients to die.

An oral blood thinner developed and sold by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Xarelto (rivaroxaban), hit the U.S. market in July 2011 and quickly grew into a popular alternative to an older medication, warfarin. The drug’s makers marketed the drug as superior to warfarin.

Unlike warfarin, Xarelto has no dietary restrictions or blood tests but causes more gastrointestinal bleeds. This excessive bleeding led to serious complications, and patients and families soon turned to litigation as compensation for damages.

The first consolidation order came in December 2014 when the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict District Litigation (JPML) transferred about two dozen cases in Louisiana federal court. The defendants, drug giants Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, claim there were not enough similarities to go ahead with the order, but the panel disagreed.

Acne Drug Accutane No Longer Sold

Accutane won’t be sold any more, drug giant Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. has announced.

Generic versions of the acne drug, called isotretinoin, are still available from several manufacturers. But Roche, which has sold the drug to 13 million patients since 1982, will not be one of them.

The decision was made for “business reasons,” Roche announced in a news release. Those reasons include declining sales: Accutane sales now make up less than 5% of the isotretinoin market.

Another big reason: Accutane personal injury lawsuits, which Roche is aggressively defending.

Accutane and other isotretinoin products are effective treatments for serious acne. But the drug can have extremely serious side effects: mental health problems — including depression, psychosis, and suicide — and, when taken by pregnant women, miscarriage or birth defects.

Testing a Legal Ideal In Vioxx Settlement

If you listen to brainy law professors who have been studying big injury cases, you will learn that lawyers no longer owe their clients a duty of loyalty. They say this approvingly, even enthusiastically.

The idea that lawyers must represent one client at a time, give independent advice, follow instructions and, in general, act with fierce and single-minded loyalty is, these professors say, a lovely idea but an outmoded one. It is something out of the Age of Chivalry, or at least the 20th century.

“Speaking of individualized notions of lawyer loyalty is sort of like the mindset of the French military in 1940,” said Richard A. Nagareda, a law professor at Vanderbilt and the author of a recent book called “Mass Torts in a World of Settlement.”

Professor Nagareda was speaking at a forum at the American Enterprise Institute this month, and he was explaining why a proposed $4.85 billion settlement of lawsuits concerning the painkiller Vioxx represents progress, even though the deal puts extraordinary pressure on the lawyer-client relationship.

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