Roche has been on a legal roller coaster with its acne drug Accutane. Facing thousands of claims that the drug triggers inflammatory bowel disease, the Swiss drugmaker is now enjoying a high point, as an appeals court reversed a $25 million verdict against the company.
In a lawsuit over a patient who developed Crohn’s disease while taking the drug, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that the plaintiff, Andrew McCarrell, did not file his suit in time and that a lower court mistakenly applied New Jersey state law, rather than the law in McCarrell’s home state of Alabama, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. The court used a precedent laid out in a 2012 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Johnson & Johnson, which dismissed a suit over a faulty stent after finding that lower courts applied the wrong state law.
This is not the first time the court has overturned a verdict over McCarrell’s Accutane claims. In 2007, a court awarded McCarrell $2.7 million, but the drugmaker ultimately got the verdict reversed, based on an issue with evidence. McCarrell won the $25 million verdict after a 2010 retrial.The appeals court decision is “very disappointing,” David Buchanan, McCarrell’s lawyer, told the NJLJ. McCarrell has fought Roche for 12 years over “permanent and devastating injuries” he got from using Accutane,