In early March 2014 a jury found drugmaker Hoffman LaRoche must pay more than $1.5 million in damages to a woman who developed a form of inflammatory bowel disease after using the company’s Accutane acne medicine. Jurors found that Switzerland-based Roche failed to properly warn Kamie Kendall’s doctors and that Accutane caused the ulcerative colitis and were liable for her injuries.
About 16 million people have taken Accutane since it went on the market in 1982. Once it was the company’s second biggest selling drug. Patent protection was lost in 2002, but the company continued to sell the drug along with generic competitors. In addition to bowel disease, Accutane has been linked to birth defects and depression.
This was the second trial of the Plaintiff’s Accutane claims. A New Jersey appeals court overturned a $10.5 million verdict in 2010, ruling that a judge improperly barred the drug company from using evidence about the medication’s use. The company has lost 10 of 13 suits brought by former Accutane users that have gone to trial since April 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Plaintiff began an Accutane regimen at age 12 to combat her severe recalcitrant nodular acne and developed ulcerative colitis at 15. The condition worsened until doctors removed her colon in 2006, when she was 21. The verdict in this case was Roche’s ninth loss in an Accutane liability suit.
Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, pulled its brand-name Accutane off the market in 2009 after juries awarded millions of damages to former users over the bowel disease claims. Mike Hook, a Pensacola, Fla., lawyer, and Dave Buchanan, a lawyer with Seeger Weiss located in New York City, handled this case. They did a very good job for their client.
Source: Law 360
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