Jury awards $18 million verdict in two women’s Accutane lawsuit

by Heygood Orr and Pearson

A jury in New Jersey has awarded $18 million to two women who developed inflammatory bowel disease after using the acne medication Accutane. Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson alleged that the drug’s manufacturer, Roche, failed to properly warn them of the risk they faced of developing inflammatory bowel disease by taking Accutane.

According to a study published by researchers at the University of North Carolina, patients taking Accutane are twice as likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease as non-users. Patients with the condition suffer from chronically red and swollen intestines, which can cause pain, bleeding, diarrhea, and other symptoms. In some cases, patients with inflammatory bowel disease need to undergo surgery to remove all or part of the colon.

The jury’s verdict marks the ninth time in the 13 Accutane lawsuits that have gone to trial to date where jurors have found in favor of patients who were injured after using the acne drug. Roche pulled its brand name version of Accutane from the market in 2009 after jurors awarded millions of dollars to patients who developed bowel disease after taking the medication.