Treating and surviving cancer is one of life’s most difficult tests. Surgeries and chemotherapy often leave cancer patients severely diminished. Chemotherapy causes fatigue, nausea, anemia, loss of appetite, and hair loss. Usually, those that survive cancer treatments mostly return back to normal, including full and complete regrowth of their hair. Unfortunately, some cancer patients that were put on a chemotherapy drug called Taxotere (docetaxel), never grew their hair back at all, and are thus unable to put the stigma of cancer behind them.
Hair loss often causes serious mental and emotional damages for cancer patients. Female breast cancer patients in particular cite hair loss as the most distressing and troublesome side effect of chemotherapy. The stigma caused by hair loss can snowball into other mental health problems such as anxiety, struggling with body image, decreased self-esteem, and decreased social functioning.
What is Taxotere?
Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that was introduced in 1996 and was mainly used to treat breast cancer. The drug is administered intravenously as part of a cocktail of cancer drugs which includes Adriamycin and Cytoxan.
Why are People Suing Over Taxotere?
In short, Taxotere manufacturers either intentionally or negligently failed to disclose to medical providers or patients that Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss. In so doing, patients were left in the dark about their future after surviving cancer. What further shocks the conscience is that several large manufacturers of Taxotere, knew that the drug caused permanent hair loss since at least 2005, but the manufacturers failed to update their labels to warn patients about this devastating side effect, so as to not effect their sales and profits. What is even more damning is the fact that there were alternative treatments, such as Taxol, another chemotherapy drug available to patients, that does not cause permanent hair loss and actually increases survivability. However, patients were not warned about the critical differences between these two drugs. Had patients been adequately warned, common sense dictates that these patients would have chosen Taxol, instead of Taxotere.
This massive failure has led to nearly 10,000 lawsuits being filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana which is hearing cases across the nation that have been consolidated by the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). It is estimated that between 10 to 15 percent of patients using Taxotere suffered long-term loss of hair. Those that did have regrowth of hair often reported that it took about 4-6 months, and the hair regrowth was incomplete with thinning hairs in strange patterns. There is no known treatment that helps with permanent hair loss caused by Taxotere, and as such cancer survivors are left looking as if they are still battling cancer for the rest of their lives. The emotional distress and severe depression suffered by these patients is debilitating and overwhelming. Abrams Justice has recently joined the litigation in the MDL and looks forward to seeking justice for their clients, who have suffered from permanent hair loss without warning. There are simply no excuses.
Is This a Class Action Lawsuit?
In a class action, all of the injured parties are treated the same. There is one trial against the defendant, and generally all of the plaintiffs get the same amount for their damages. The Taxotere litigation is a mass tort case, which is different than a class action suit. Since all of the Taxotere plaintiffs have suffered from the drug in varying ways it would be unfair for each plantiff to receive the same value for different injuries. Taxotere patients suffering from permanent hair loss have their own story to tell.
Moreover, unlike class actions cases, mass tort cases usually involve multiple jury trials, referred to as Bellwether Trials that establish a baseline for settlement negotiations. If a settlement is reached, the settlement agreement will categorize clients based on their injury and individual characteristics. Currently, several Taxotere bellwether trials are scheduled to take place from May 2019 through September 2020, thus the cases are really starting to move forward towards a resolution.
If you are a cancer patient who was treated with Taxotere and suffered permanent hair loss, you should reach out to the trial lawyers at Abrams Justice as soon as possible, to learn about your rights. The attorneys at Abrams Justice have filed Taxotere cases in the JPML, and they will ensure that you are compensated for your life long injuries. Call us today at (305) 709-0880 and schedule a free consultation.