March 12, 2014 — The Star-Ledger reports that Roche, the Swiss manufacturer of Accutane, must pay over $1.5 million to a woman who developed intestinal bowel disease (IBD) after using the acne drug. Jurors in New Jersey concluded that Roche failed to adequately warn patients that Accutane could cause intestinal disease.
The plaintiff, Kamie Kendall, was previously awarded $10.5 million in 2010, but a New Jersey appeals court overturned the decision after ruling that judge improperly barred Roche from presenting some evidence. Since April 2007, Roche has lost 10 out of 13 Accutane lawsuits, according to Bloomberg.
About 16 million people have used Accutane since Roche introduced the acne pill in 1982. In 2006, the American Journal of Gastroenterology linked the use of Accutane to an increased risk of IBD, also known as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. The company pulled brand-name Accutane off the market in 2009 following several multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of patients who developed bowel disease.
In 2012, Roche faced about 8,000 Accutane lawsuits in New Jersey. That same year, a jury awarded $18 million to two former Accutane users who had bowel disease. Roche is appealing that decision. In 2011, a jury in New Jersey awarded $25.16 million to an Alabama man who developed IBD.
While most lawsuits involve inflammatory bowel disease, Roche is also facing lawsuits from plaintiffs who took Accutane during pregnancy and had a baby with severe birth defects before the drug was labeled “Category X.” In addition, Accutane has also been linked to serious mental health problems, including depression or psychosis.