Three plaintiffs combined to bring action against Accutane manufacturer Hoffman-LaRoche, claiming that the drug caused their development of Irritable Bowel Disease and that the drug’s label inadequately warned of the risk. However, the jury awarded only one of these plaintiffs $2.1 million.
Between the years 1997 and 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received 85 reports of Irritable Bowel Disease, or IBD, associated with the use of Accutane. The FDA determined that in nearly all of the cases, it was “probable” or “highly probable” that Accutane had caused patients to develop the disease. Accutane was taken off the market in 2009, but millions of patients had been taking it during its 27 year tenure on the market, and much of the damage from continued use had already been done.
Accutane – generically known as isotretinoin – is prescribed in the treatment of severe nodular acne by decreasing the amount of oil the skin produces.
The 8 week trial started with Kelly Andrews, who started taking Accutane when she was 17. She later was diagnosed with Chron’s disease, which is a form of IBD. As a result of the Chron’s, Andrews was hospitalized over 25 times and eventually opted for removal of her entire colon! Even though the jury unanimously agreed that Accutane caused her IBD, they also determined that Andrews would have still taken the drug. Because of this, she was not awarded any damages, but her lawyer says that they are going to file post-trial motions.
The next plaintiff was Gillian Gaghan, who started taking Accutane at the age of 22, and saw symptoms of IBD within months, including losing bowel control at night. As was the case with the first plaintiff, the jury concluded that her disease was caused by Accutane and the label was inadequate. However, unlike the first plaintiff, the jury found 5-2 that had she known the risk, she would not have taken the drug. She was awarded over $2 million in damages.
The last plaintiff was actor James Marshall. The jury found 1-6 that Accutane did not cause his disease, so they did not need to go on to the question of whether the labeling was inaccurate or if he would have taken the medicine had he known the risks.
After an hour and a half of deliberation, the jury awarded Gaghan $125,617 in past medical expenses and $2 million in compensatory damages. She also is entitled to almost $1 million in interest from her suit’s filing date in 2004.
If you have taken Accutane and have developed IBD or any debilitating symptoms, contact one of our attorneys to see if we can help you file a dangerous drug claim – 1-800-246-HURT (4878).