Sanofi wins second bellwether trial over cancer drug Taxotere

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The logo of Sanofi is seen during the annual results news conference in Paris, France, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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  • Verdict is second bellwether win for drugmaker
  • More than 12,000 lawsuits claim permament hair loss linked to drug

(Reuters) - Sanofi provided sufficient warning to a Louisiana woman that its chemotherapy drug Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss, a jury found late Thursday following a trial in New Orleans federal court.

Sanofi has now won both test cases, or bellwethers, that have gone to trial in a mass tort litigation over the drug, which is pending before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

"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," Chris Coffin of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, a lawyer for plaintiff Elizabeth Kahn and other plaintiffs in the litigation, said in an email. He said Kahn would appeal.

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"The jury's decision is incredibly meaningful and reinforces that our client's warning labels were adequate," Hildy Sastre of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, who represented Sanofi at trial, said in a statement.

Kahn sued Sanofi in 2016, alleging that she suffered permanent hair loss, or alopecia, after being treated with Taxotere beginning in 2008 for breast cancer.

She said Sanofi had knowledge that the drug could cause permanent hair loss, rather than the temporary hair loss common with chemotherapy drugs but had failed to study the risk fully or to warn doctors adequately.

Kahn said that if she had known the drug carried the risk, she would have discussed other options with her doctor.

More than 12,000 product liability cases are pending before Milazzo in the MDL against drugmakers, including Sanofi, that manufactured and distributed Taxotere or generic versions of the chemotherapy drug, docetaxel.

Sanofi is also facing lawsuits in state courts in New Jersey, California, and Delaware. Mississippi's attorney general has sued the pharmaceutical company over its marketing of the drug.

Sanofi won the first bellwether trial in September 2019.

The case is In re Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 16-md-02740.

For Kahn and other plaintiffs: Dawn Barrios of Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, John Olinde of Chaffe McCall, Douglas Moore of Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore, Chris Coffin of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin and others

For Sanofi: Hildy Sastre of Shook, Hardy & Bacon and others

Read more:

Sanofi can't escape second bellwether trial over Taxotere

Sanofi wins first bellwether trial in Taxotere litigation

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Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.