Defending against more than 12,000 personal injury lawsuits, Sanofi just clinched a second win in ongoing litigation surrounding its chemotherapy drug Taxotere.
The drugmaker adequately warned plaintiff Elizabeth Kahn that the cancer med could cause alopecia, or permanent hair loss, a jury in a New Orleans federal court found late last week. The decision marks Sanofi's second bellwether win in the mass tort litigation, Reuters reports.
Sanofi is "pleased" with the jury's decision, a company spokesperson said over email. "Taxotere remains an important chemotherapy option, and we appreciate the jury's determination that the warnings included in our label for Taxotere were adequate," she added.
Plaintiffs' lawyer Chris Coffin of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin told Reuters he was disappointed in the outcome, but he remains "confident that the evidence against Sanofi will result in positive verdicts for plaintiffs around the country in the future."
Kahn plans to appeal the decision, Coffin added.
Kahn sued Sanofi back in 2016. She claims she suffered permanent hair loss after receiving Taxotere for breast cancer starting in 2008. Sanofi knew the drug could lead to permanent hair loss, rather than the temporary hair loss more commonly associated with chemotherapy drugs, she alleges. She argued that Sanofi failed to investigate the risk of permanent hair loss or warn doctors sufficiently.
Had Kahn been aware of the potential side effect, she would have talked to her doctor about other medication options, Reuters says.
U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana is overseeing the case and thousands of others. The lawsuits have been brought against Sanofi and other drugmakers that produced and distributed Taxotere or its generic version, docetaxel.
Elsewhere, Sanofi faces lawsuits in New Jersey, California and Delaware, plus Mississippi, where the attorney general has sued the company over its marketing of the drug.
Sanofi snagged its first bellwether win in September 2019. At the time, a jury found that Sanofi's drug hadn't caused the permanent hair loss of another plaintiff, Barbara Earnest, Reuters reported at the time.
Elsewhere on the legal front, Sanofi has been playing defense for its once-popular drug Zantac. A judge in Florida last month scrapped requests from Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim to throw out lawsuits from former Zantac patients asking for medical monitoring and compensation for their financial losses. Personal injury lawsuits tied to the drug can continue as well, the judge found. After an investigation flagged the presence of cancer-causing impurities in Zantac and generics, the FDA last year ordered a recall of all branded and unbranded versions from the market.