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$18 Million Awarded to Plaintiffs in Latest Accutane Lawsuit

Jul 2, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Roche Holdings AG has once again been ordered to pay millions of dollars to plaintiffs who allege its Accutane acne drug caused them to suffer irritable bowel diseases.  This time, a New Jersey state jury has awarded $9 million each to two women who say they developed ulcerative colitis due to Accutane.

There are currently more than 7,000 cases pending in New Jersey and elsewhere on behalf of former Accutane users who developed inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, after using the drug. According to a report from Bloomberg News, juries have now ruled against Roche in nine of 13 Accutane lawsuits that have come to trial since 2007, though a few verdicts have been overturned on appeal.

In this latest lawsuit, a New Jersey jury spent six hours deliberating before they found that Roche's failure to warn that Accutane could cause bowel problems caused Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson to develop ulcerative colitis.  At the same time, the panel rejected claims by two other former users of the drug, Bloomberg said. 

Roche brought Accutane to market in 1982, and the drug has been used by roughly 16 million people worldwide.  In 2009, Roche decided to stop marketing Accutane, citing among other things, the high cost of product liability suits involving the drug as one of the factors in the decision.

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