NJ jury orders drugmaker Roche to pay $1.5M at Accutane trial
By Bloomberg News
on March 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM, updated March 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM
A New Jersey jury today found drug maker Roche failed to properly warn Kamie Kendall's doctors that acne medicine Accutane could cause ulcerative colitis and were liable for her injuries.
Drug maker Roche must pay more than $1.5 million in damages to a woman who developed bowel disease after using the company’s Accutane acne medicine, a jury ruled in her retrial.
Officials of Basel, Switzerland-based Roche failed to properly warn Kamie Kendall’s doctors that Accutane could cause ulcerative colitis and were liable for her injuries, jurors in state court in New Jersey concluded today.
It was the second trial of Kendall’s Accutane claims. A New Jersey appeals court overturned a $10.5 million verdict in 2010, ruling that a judge improperly barred Roche from using evidence about the medication’s use. Roche has lost 10 of 13 suits brought by former Accutane users that have gone to trial since April 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“This is another in a long line of juries that have found Roche knew this drug caused bowel disease and wrongfully withheld that information from patients and their doctors,” Mike Hook, Kendall’s lawyer, said in a phone interview.
About 16 million people have taken Accutane, once Roche’s second-biggest selling drug, since it went on the market in 1982. Roche, which recently exited its shuttered its sprawling campus on the border of Nutley and Clifton, lost patent protection in 2002 and continued to sell the drug along with generic competitors. In addition to bowel disease, Accutane has been linked to birth defects and depression.
Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, pulled its brand-name Accutane off the market in 2009 after juries awarded millions of dollars in damages to former users over the bowel-disease claims.
In 2012, a New Jersey jury ordered Roche to pay a total of $18 million to two former Accutane users. The same jury rejected claims by two other patients who blamed their bowel ailments on the drug.