Accutane Lawsuit Over Inflammatory Bowel Disease Results in $25M Verdict

A New Jersey jury has awarded $25.16 million in damages in an Accutane lawsuit, which alleged that the acne drug caused the plaintiff to develop inflammatory bowel disease.
The verdict was handed down this week in a New Jersey Superior Court, following the retrial of a case brought by Andrew McCarrell, 38, of Birmingham, Alabama. McCarrell originally won a $2.62 million award against Roche in 2007, but the company got that verdict overturned and the case was sent back for a retrial.

Roche faces nearly 1,000 lawsuits over Accutane, which has been associated with bowel problems, depression and birth defects. All of the lawsuits include allegations that Roche failed to adequately warn users about potential Accutane side effects. The company has lost all six cases that have gone to trial so far, with verdicts totaling $56 million, according to a report by Bloomberg News. One of those verdicts, with a $7.2 million award, has been overturned by a Florida appeals court.

Acne Drug Accutane No Longer Sold

Accutane won’t be sold any more, drug giant Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. has announced.

Generic versions of the acne drug, called isotretinoin, are still available from several manufacturers. But Roche, which has sold the drug to 13 million patients since 1982, will not be one of them.

The decision was made for “business reasons,” Roche announced in a news release. Those reasons include declining sales: Accutane sales now make up less than 5% of the isotretinoin market.

Another big reason: Accutane personal injury lawsuits, which Roche is aggressively defending.

Accutane and other isotretinoin products are effective treatments for serious acne. But the drug can have extremely serious side effects: mental health problems — including depression, psychosis, and suicide — and, when taken by pregnant women, miscarriage or birth defects.

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