Roche ordered to pay $1.5 million in lawsuit by Accutane user with inflammatory bowel disease

by Jim Orr

Accutane, the brand name for isotretinoin, is a prescription drug that was developed and marketed by Roche. The drug is used to treat recalcitrant nodular acne that has not responded to other regimens. The many known side effects of Accutane including dry lips, skin and eyes; conjunctivitis; decreased night vision; muscle and joint aches; elevated triglycerides; and a high risk of birth defects if a woman ingests the drug while pregnant. A lawsuit filed by Kamie Kendall concerns the effect of Accutane on the digestive tract and, in particular, the alleged propensity of the drug to cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD includes several chronic incurable diseases characterized by inflammation of the intestine. It traditionally manifests as one of two diseases: Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis, Kendall’s diagnosed condition, involves a chronic condition characterized by ulceration of the colon and rectum. Individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis experience frequent and often bloody bowel movements. Accompanying those bowel movements are fatigue, dehydration, anemia, cramping, abdominal pain, and bloating. The symptoms often wax and wane, but the condition is regarded as permanent.

A jury verdict in favor of Kendall was reversed by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey and remanded for a new trial. Kendall v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., 2010 WL 3034453 (N.J.Super.A.D. August 05, 2010). Following the second trial, a jury has again ruled in favor of Kendall.

The New Jersey jury found Roche failed to properly warn Kendall’s doctors that Accutane could cause ulcerative colitis. Roche was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in damages.

About 16 million people have taken Accutane, once Roche’s second-biggest selling drug, since it went on the market in 1982. In addition to bowel disease, Accutane has been linked to birth defects and depression. After several juries awarded millions of dollars in damages to former Accutane users over bowel-disease claims, Roche pulled Accutane off the market in 2009.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson fights for patients hurt by dangerous drugs

Despite the best efforts of the FDA and other health organizations, tens of thousands of patients are seriously injured each year by dangerous drugs or medical devices. Sadly, many of these cases could have been prevented if the manufacturers of these goods had designed and developed their products to meet safety standards that are mandated by federal law.

The attorneys at the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson have based our careers on the goal of holding companies who manufacture defective drugs or medical devices accountable for the injuries caused by their products. Our firm has secured verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drug, medical device, or other product, you deserve answers about why these injuries occurred and how they could have been prevented. If these injuries were the result of a defective drug or even a doctor’s negligence, you have the right to demand that the negligent party be held responsible.

For a free legal consultation about your case and to speak with a lawyer about whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson so that we can help you determine the best way to protect your legal rights and interests. You can reach us by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.