Quoted from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a0CU7WbJ6SXk
Roche Ignored Accutane Risks, Actor’s Lawyer Tells Jurors
By Jef Feeley - February 22, 2011 16:49 EST
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG executives ignored research showing that the company’s Accutane acne drug causes inflammatory bowel disease, a lawyer told a New Jersey jury hearing a Hollywood actor’s claims over the medicine.
To protect profits, Roche researchers turned a blind eye to animal studies that found Accutane could cause bleeding and bowel blockages in users, said Michael Hook, an attorney for James Marshall, who played U.S. Marine Louden Downey in the 1992 hit movie “A Few Good Men.”
Jurors in state court in Atlantic City, New Jersey, are hearing claims by Marshall and two other ex-Accutane users that the drug destroyed their intestinal systems.
“These people have been seriously hurt,” Hook told the seven-woman, one-man jury today in opening statements.
About 16 million people have taken Accutane, once Roche’s second-biggest selling drug, since it went on the market in 1982, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers. Basel, Switzerland-based Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, pulled its brand-name version of Accutane off the market in 2009 after juries awarded millions of dollars in damages to former users over bowel-disease claims. Roche has lost all seven cases that have gone to trial.