Accutane Trial Ends With $2 Million Verdict for One Plaintiff

Another <"">Accutane trial has ended with a win for a plaintiff. The Street said that the six-week trial resulted in a $2 million award for one of three plaintiffs after their attorneys argued that Roche, the maker of Accutane, knew that Accutane could lead to a serious risk for inflammatory bowel disease and did not properly warn patients of these risks.

Kelley Andrews said she took Accutane, developed Crohn’s disease, was hospitalized 25 times, underwent seven “major” gastrointestinal surgeries, and, ultimately, was forced to undergo removal of her colon, said The Street. Closing arguments included a statement that said, essentially, that Roche knew that the drug “induces, triggers, or causes IBD,” a type of Crohn’s disease, said The Street.

Plaintiff James Marshall also said he took Accutane, which he claims resulted in ulcerative colitis in 1993, suffering also from rectal bleeding, a symptom of ulcerative colitis. Plaintiff Gillian Gaghan said she, too, took Accutane and developed ulcerative colitis, underwent a number of hospital stays, developed lupus-like symptoms, and suffers nighttime bowel control loss, among other symptoms. The jury did not find in favor of these two plaintiffs, and awarded them nothing.

Meanwhile, there are some 2,441 Accutane inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) lawsuits pending in a New Jersey mass tort litigation that began five years ago. Over the fall, more than 800 lawsuits were filed in the Accutane litigation, and it is expected that more cases will be filed in the future.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982, Accutane has been the subject of controversy for years. It first garnered attention in the late eighties for causing severe birth defects. It has also been known to cause psychiatric problems, and has been linked to hundreds of cases of suicide in the United States. Accutane has also been associated with problems of the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and pancreas, as well as the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and autoimmune systems.

The rare and dangerous skin disorder, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which can be fatal if untreated, has also been tied to Accutane.

In 2009, Roche decided to stop marketing Accutane for economic reasons. In announcing the decision, Roche cited the high cost of product liability suits involving the drug as one of the factors in the decision.

Bloomberg News reported in August that Roche has lost all seven Accutane cases that had been considered by juries since 2007, including the last three in a row. Following one 2007 trial in New Jersey state court, Roche was able to successfully overturn a jury’s award of $2.62 million in compensation awarded to a man who developed inflammatory bowel problems. That case was retried and another New Jersey jury awarded the same man more than $25 million.

In August, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division threw out an award of $10.5 million stemming from a 2008 Accutane trial, and ordered a new case for that trial.

A new Accutane study out of Sweden linked the controversial acne drug to an increased risk of suicide. The study’s findings support increased mental health monitoring of patients for up to a year after taking Accutane.

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