A recent $1.59 million verdict for a woman with ulcerative colitis is good news for thousands of Accutane victims who have filed Accutane lawsuits claiming the acne drug failed to warn of colitis risk.
A New Jersey jury found on March 11, 2014, that the Accutane manufacturer, Hoffman-LaRoche and Roche Laboratories, failed to provide Kamie Kendall Ries from Salt Lake City with adequate warning of the health risks. Reis was prescribed acne drug Accutane in 1998, when she was just 12 years old and later had her colon removed after developing Accutane Ulcerative Colitis.This article originally appeared on Lawyers and Settlements.
More good news for Accutane colitis victims is that the jury found the failure of adequate warnings extended to 1998, when Ms. Ries was prescribed Accutane. Her attorney, David Buchanan, said that “Roche’s continued denials in the face of seven juries in New Jersey and one in Florida, stating otherwise is a continuing insult to the many who have already suffered so much due to this drug.”
Roche intends to appeal the verdict. Buchanan said that plaintiffs (of which approximately 7,000 Accutane cases are pending in New Jersey and elsewhere) will seek to streamline the litigation through motion practice and trying more cases together in the future.
Eight Accutane trials have been held in New Jersey, and all New Jersey lawsuits claiming that Accutane is linked to bowel disease have been centralized before Court Judge Carol Higbee. She is not popular amongt Roche lawyers, who contend that Higbee is partial toward the plaintiffs, both in her demeanor and rulings.
One of those eight trials, in December 2011, resulted in a hung trial while the other seven, including the recent Ries case, determined that the giant drug maker failed to provide adequate warning of the risk of bowel disease. Nine out of 13 plaintiffs in those seven cases received monetary awards while the other four plaintiffs were found not to have proven proximate cause, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.
Since the FDA approved Accutane to treat acne in 1982, countless individuals, many of whom were teenagers, developed inflammatory bowel disease that required surgeries and made their lives miserable. Despite thousands of reports that Accutane can cause bowel diseases, Roche did not add a warning to its labeling.
Accutane was pulled from the US market in 2009. Roche said its product was removed due to a low market share and the high cost of defending personal injury lawsuits by Accutane consumers. Accutane is still available in the UK and other countries, and the generic version of Isotretinoin is still available in the US.