October 6, 2016 — A panel of federal judges have created a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2740) to centralize dozens of Taxotere lawsuits under one judge in Louisiana.
In an order (PDF) issued October 3, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred the litigation to the Eastern District of Louisiana under U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk.
The litigation consisted of 33 lawsuits pending in 16 district courts when lawyers requested centralization in July. Since then, the judges have been notified of an additional 56 lawsuits 25 districts, bringing the total number of lawsuits to 89.
All of the lawsuits were filed by people who experienced permanent hair loss after using Taxotere (docetaxel), a chemotherapy drug that is commonly used to treat breast cancer.
Sanofi-Aventis is accused of failing to warn patients about the risk of permanent alopecia (baldness) until the label was updated in December 2015.
Sanofi-Aventis is also accused of marketing Taxotere as more effective than other chemotherapy drugs, when the other drugs were equally effective and not associated with permanent hair loss.
All parties supported centralization but disagreed on the venue. The JPML said there was no clear focal point given the geographic dispersal of the lawsuits. The Eastern District of Louisiana was chosen because 10 lawsuits were already pending there. Furthermore, Judge Africk has not yet had the opportunity to preside over an MDL.
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