A New Jersey jury has awarded $1.5 million in damages to a woman who alleged that she developed ulcerative colitis from taking prescription Accutane to treat her acne condition.
Kamie Kendall Rees originally filed her lawsuit in 2010, resulting in a $10.5 million award, which was overturned on appeal. The $1.5 million award was upheld and $87,000 in medical expenses
Roche, the manufacturer of Accutane, appealed the original verdict, arguing that certain evidence was excluded that should have been presented to the jury
Following the retrial, the jury found once again that Roche failed to adequately warn about the potential side effects of Accutane, which have been linked to the development of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In addition to the evidence excluded from the first trial, the jury was not impressed by new data from six studies that were completed since the first trial, which Roche claimed showed no association between Accutane and bowel disease.
Kendall Rees began using Accutane when she was 12 years old due to severe recalcitrant nodular acne. Three years later she developed ulcerative colitis, so severe that she needed to have her colon removed in 2006, when she was just 21 years old
Juries have previously found that the Roche defendants knew about causal affects between Accutane and bowel disease and that they purposefully and wrongfully withheld the information from patients and physicians. Not only was this the ninth consecutive jury to find that the Roche defendants failed to warn patients that Accutane generally causes ulcerative colitis, but Accutane has also been linked to birth defects and depression.
Although the $1.5 million awarded is only a fraction of what Rees was awarded in the first trial, this amount could climb substantially once prejudgment interest is factored into the award.
Accutane (also known by the genetic version, isotretinoin), has been used by more than 16 million people worldwide, since first being introduced in 1982. The brand name version was removed from the market amidst increasing litigation. Roche faces thousands of Accutane bowel disease lawsuits, which are centralized for “mass tort treatment” before Judge Carol E. Higbee in New Jersey state court.
Kendall Rees’ victory is the tenth loss for Roche out of the 13 Accutane trials that have gone to a jury to date, with several cases resulting in multi-million dollar damage awards for plaintiffs.
The public should be on high alert if they have taken Accutane in the past and have experienced any adverse side effects as a result.
If you or a loved one has taken Accutane and has been diagnosed with a bowel disorder or other adverse effects, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).