Jury Awards $2.6 Million For Inflammatory Bowel Disease Side Effect
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)_____________________________________________________________________
Update: Accutane Retrial Verdict: Roche Ordered to Pay $25 Million to Accutane User
By David Voreacos and John Martin
Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG, the Swiss drugmaker, must pay $25.16 million in damages to a former user of its Accutane drug who blamed the acne medicine for his inflammatory bowel disease, a New Jersey jury ruled.
Andrew McCarrell, 38, won the verdict today at a retrial in Atlantic City, New Jersey. An appeals court ordered the new trial after overturning a $2.62 million award he won in May 2007. McCarrell, a computer technician from Birmingham, Alabama, testified he got sick after taking the drug for acne in 1995. He needed five surgeries, including one to remove his colon....
On May 29, 2007 a New Jersey state court jury handed down a $2.619 million verdict against pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche Inc. for the failure to warn that its acne drug Accutane can cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as alleged in the Complaint for the lawsuit Andrew McCarrell v. Hoffman-La Roche Inc., et al., No. ATL-L-1951-03 MT, New Jersey Superior Court (Atlantic County).
According to a May 29, 2007 Reuters article about this first New Jersey Accutane trial, about 400 Accutane lawsuits have been filed against Hoffman-La Roche.
This Reuters article reported that the drug company plans to appeal this plaintiff verdict in the McCarrell case:
"Notwithstanding the verdict, the cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown and there is no reliable scientific evidence that Accutane causes inflammatory bowel disease," the company said in a statement, adding that the medicine's label has contained a bowel disease warning for more than 20 years.
An Associated Press (AP) article published May 29, 2007 by the International Hearld Tribune put into context the McCarrell case verdict:
...the jury found the company failed to adequately warn the public about Accutane's risk of causing inflammatory bowel disorder. It is an umbrella term for several poorly understood diseases involving chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract; they cause symptoms including severe abdominal cramps, fever and recurring, sometimes bloody diarrhea.
Accutane's links to suicidal behavior and birth defects are much better known. The detailed instructions in the package include a lengthy, bold-faced warning about psychiatric disorders and begin with the words "Causes birth defects" and "Do not get pregnant" with an illustration of a pregnant woman and a circle with a slash through it.
A brief, plain-type warning states Accutane has been associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
Lawyers for Roche argued that the warning was adequate. It has been on the package insert for more than 20 years, and Accutane has been prescribed for more than 13 million people worldwide in the quarter-century it has been on sale, Roche said.
According to the May 29 AP article, there are three more Accutane trials scheduled for 2007 in Florida and Illinois state courts.