Accutane Settlement in Illinois Lawsuit

Roche Laboratories Inc. and Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., makers of acne drug Accutane, just settled a lawsuit that was pending for seven years. A man alleging Accutane caused his inflammatory bowel disease filed the lawsuit, said the St. Claire Record.

Accutane, which is used to treat severe acne—nodular and/or inflammatory—that cannot be cleared up by other treatments, including antibiotics, has been the subject of controversy for years. It first garnered attention in the late 1980s for causing severe Accutane birth defects. It has also been known to cause psychiatric problems, and has been linked to hundreds of cases of suicide in the U.S. Approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982; it was ultimately pulled from U.S. markets as well as in 11 other countries. The last date for distribution of Accutane in the U.S. was June 25, 2009.

Accutane has also been associated with inflammatory bowel disease; problems of the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and pancreas; and cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and autoimmune systems problems. Most recently, we wrote that Accutane has been associated with severe, and possibly fatal, skin reactions, including erythema multiforme [EM], Stevens-Johnson syndrome [SJS], and toxic epidermal necrolysis [TEN]. When Roche finally pulled Accutane from the market, it cited the high cost of product liability suits. At the time it was facing 5000 lawsuits involving the drug.

The St. Claire Record wrote that the drug makers entered mediation with Jason Peipert, the defendant, settling the case—for a confidential amount and terms—last week. Malpractice claims Peipert made against his physician, Dr. Daniel Goran, are pending in the suit brought about in 2003 that alleges Dr. Goran negligently prescribed Accutane, said the St. Claire Record. Peipert claims he developed IBD after taking Accutane in the late 1990s.

We recently wrote about a massive $25.16 million judgment awarded by a New Jersey jury to an Alabama man who filed suit against Hoffman-La Roche Inc. Andrew McCarrell, 38, blamed the drug for his inflammatory bowel disorder, said the Associated Press (AP) previously. McCarrell took Accutane in his 20s and alleged that Hoffmann-La Roche did not appropriately warn of the drug’s side effects; McCarrell ultimately required colon removal, said the AP.

Prior to this recent award, Roche was ordered to pay in excess of $33 million to people who claimed they were injured by the drug. Roche lost several <"">Accutane lawsuits brought by people who claimed the drug caused them to develop IBD; in November 2008, a New Jersey jury ordered the company to pay $13 million to three such plaintiffs. The previous April, another New Jersey jury awarded $10.5 million to a woman who blamed the drug for her ulcerative colitis. In May 2007, a New Jersey trial resulted in an award of $2.62 million to a patient who needed to have his colon and most of his rectum removed after taking the drug. In October that same year, a Florida jury awarded $7 million in damages to another Accutane user who developed the IBD.

According to a Health Canada public health alert, a review of the Roche global safety database found that, as of November 22, 2009, 66 cases of severe skin reactions including EM, SJS, and TEN in adults and children were reported; two were fatal. While there are confounding factors for the majority of the reports, a causal association between Accutane and these severe skin reactions cannot be excluded, Health Canada said.

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