Taxotere Marketing For Lawyers: How To Add Taxotere To Your Law Firm’s Website
LawLytics Senior Legal Marketing Strategist Larry Bodine recently presented a webinar on the chemotherapy drug, Taxotere, as part of our Mass Torts Marketing Series.
Taxotere has been linked to permanent hair loss in patients treated with it.
There are about 1500 cases filed against the makers of Taxotere right now (MDL 2740, In re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation).
“This is a fast growing MDL,” Bodine notes. “It was created last October and now it’s grown to nearly 1500 cases.”
If you’re a plaintiff lawyer who’s been thinking about a mass torts practice, Taxotere may be a good choice for your firm.
You can watch this 30 minute webinar on-demand, or keep reading to learn more about Taxotere.
About Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug
Taxotere is part of a family of drugs called taxanes, which interfere with cell division. The drug is delivered intravenously.
Taxotere has been widely used: More than 3 million women were noted to have a history of breast cancer in the US, and roughly 75 percent of them were prescribed Taxotere to treat their cancer.
Taxotere has been a blockbuster drug for its maker, Sanofi-Aventis. Sales of Taxotere went as high as $3.1 billion in 2010.
Does Taxotere cause permanent hair loss?
The lawsuit alleges that Taxotere causes permanent and total hair loss (alopecia). While hair loss is a common side effect related to chemotherapy drugs, permanent hair loss is not.
To be eligible in one of these cases, the individual must have been treated with Taxotere between 2006-2016 and must have experienced hair loss for six months or longer.
About this Taxotere lawsuit
The defendant in this Taxotere lawsuit is a global pharmaceutical company, Sanofi-Aventis.
In the lawsuit, it’s alleged that:
- The manufacturer failed to warn patients and doctors about the risk of permanent hair loss;
- The company knew about the risk of permanent hair loss and covered it up;
- The company’s sales force falsely claimed that Taxotere was more effective than its competitor, Taxol, which does not cause permanent hair loss.
How is Taxotere linked to permanent hair loss?
A number of studies have linked Taxotere to permanent hair loss.
The first, in 1998, found that 9.2 percent of Taxotere patients had alopecia for up to ten years. In 2006, Dr. Scot Sedlacek, MD, conducted a study in which 6.3 percent of Taxotere patients
In 2006, Dr. Scot Sedlacek, MD, conducted a study which involved a survey of nearly 500 patients that Sedlacek had treated himself between 1994-2004.
The patients in this study received different treatments, including Taxotere. Sedlacek found that 6.3 percent of his patients who were treated with Taxotere experienced hair growth less than 50 percent of the rate prior to treatment. This persisted up to seven years after chemotherapy treatment resolved.
In Sedlacek’s findings, his female chemotherapy patients who were not given Taxotere did not develop permanent hair loss.
In 2012, a study from the Annals of Oncology noted that “permanent and severe alopecia is a newly reported complication,” of the drug regimen including Taxotere.
In 2014, a paper presented by UK scientists at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference found that nearly 16 percent of patients reported persistent scalp hair loss three years after completing treatment with Taxotere.
It was only in 2015 that a hair loss warning was finally included on Taxotere labels in the United States.
Taxotere: FDA Actions
Here is a quick overview of the actions taken by the FDA regarding Taxotere.
- Sanofi-Aventis ran its own Taxotere clinical trials from 1990-1992.
- It was first approved in December 1996 for treating lung cancer.
- By 2006, the FDA expands the use of Taxotere to treat breast, head, neck, gastric and prostate cancers.
- In December 2015, the FDA adds a hair loss warning, noting that “cases of permanent alopecia have been reported.”
“Interestingly, on the Sanofi-Aventis Taxotere webpage, the company lists a side effect of hair loss,” Bodine says.
“But, it says only ‘In some cases — frequency not known — permanent hair loss has been observed.'”
“The damages that the plaintiffs are seeking turn on the fact that hair is a way that a lot of people identify and value themselves,” Bodine says.
“It gets down to the fact that we recognize people by their hair. It’s a distinguishing feature of your identity. There’s also intense emotional damage that’s caused by losing one’s hair. On the other hand, the defense is likely to argue the fact that loss of hair is just a cosmetic issue and that the complaint is really only about a person’s appearance.”
Taxotere California Lawsuit
The case brought by Ami Dodson serves as an example of many of the other Taxotere cases.
Dodson filed her case against the manufacturers on March 14, 2016 in the Northern District of California. Dodson underwent a left breast biopsy in March of 2010, where cancer was discovered.
Dodson asserts that neither she nor her medical providers were aware of — or were informed by the defendants — about anything having to do with disfiguring, permanent alopecia. Accordingly, she received chemotherapy treatment that included Taxotere.
Following completion of her treatment, she suffered from disfiguring, permanent alopecia that she alleges is a direct result of receiving chemotherapy with Taxotere.
Taxotere: It’s a good time for attorneys to get involved
It’s a good time to get involved in Taxotere litigation.
“The way the MDLs work is that the court, as its done in this litigation, creates fill-in-the-blanks forms,” Bodine says.
There’s an amended master long form complaint available online that attorneys can use to draft their complaints. There’s also a plaintiff fact sheet and an exemplar short form complaint. All of the documents an attorney would need are already online.
With multi-district litigation dockets, an attorney can be anywhere in the United States and can represent a client represented anywhere else in the US.
“The procedure is basically to enter an appearance and let the plaintiff’s steering committee do most of the work,” Bodine says.
“The place that attorneys should really focus their efforts is on getting new clients. It’s still very early in the litigation, and the cost to acquire clients is very low.”
How do lawyers attract potential clients for Taxotere cases?
To learn more about Taxotere and how to attract potential clients to your mass torts practice, see our Mass Torts Marketing Series: Taxotere webinar.
To see other webinars in our Mass Torts Marketing Series, visit our legal marketing webinars page.