A New Jersey jury recently awarded a substantial $1.59 million verdict to a victim who was prescribed the acne drug Accutane and developed Ulcerative Colitis. The jury found that Hoffman-LaRoche and Roche Laboratories, which manufactures Accutane “failed to provide Kamie Kendall Ries…with adequate warning of the health risks.” Ries’ winning verdict is a good sign for the thousands of victims who developed Colitis after taking the drug.
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, Accutane (generic name: Isotretinoin) is a powerful drug prescribed for severe acne. The potent medication is a natural derivative of Vitamin A and is only used in extreme cases where acne does not respond to any other treatment including creams and antibiotics. Over two million patients have consumed the drug since it first came on the market in the mid-1980s. Notably absent from the lengthy list of side effects is the risk for Colitis, which thousands of patients claim they developed after taking the drug.
Kamie Kendall Ries began taking Accutane in 1998 at age 12. She later developed severe Ulcerative Colitis, an extremely painful and debilitating disease and needed to have her colon surgically removed. There is no cure for the disease, which develops over time and leads to life-long inflammation in part of the digestive tract. Though Ulcerative Colitis is usually not fatal in its own right, it can often cause life-threatening complications, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Ries’ $1.59 million verdict may have set the stage for the thousands of other patients who have filed a lawsuit alleging Hoffman-LaRoche and Roche Laboratories failed to warn them of the link to Colitis. Her attorney, David Buchanan, said that “Roche’s continued denials in the face of seven juries in New Jersey and one in Florida, stating otherwise is a continuing insult to the many who have already suffered so much due to this drug.” The pharmaceutical giant plans to appeal the verdict.
Other serious side effects of Accutane
Dryness of nose, mild nosebleed
Irritation of the eyelids and eyes
Joint and muscle pains
Temporary hair thinning
Increased sensitivity to sun
Decreased night vision Depression, thoughts of suicide
Accutane, like Vitamin A, has also been linked to serious birth defects in infants whose mothers were taking the drug while they were pregnant. This warning, unlike the Colitis risk, can be found on the label. In 2010, Hoffman-LaRoche and health Canada warned that there could be a risk of serious skin conditions in Accutane users, including Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, two extremely serious skin reactions that can lead to disability and death.
Accutane was pulled from the market in 2009, but is still available in the UK and other countries, and in the United States under its generic name.
It is the responsibility of the pharmaceutical companies to accurately and appropriately warn their customers about the potential risk for side effects, regardless of the severity of the symptoms. At the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, our dedicated team of Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys understand the unique difficulties faced by victims of pharmaceutical side effects such as those caused by Accutane. Our attorneys combine the professional expertise of having successfully handled thousands of Drug Injury cases, with the individual attention to understand and respond to the unique nature of your case. We will look into every detail of your case and will explore every legal avenue available in order to deliver legal representation of the highest quality.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends to answer any questions regarding your case. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.