According to an article that appeared on June 29 on Bloomberg.com, two plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought against drug manufacturer Roche Holding AG have been awarded a total of $18 million in damages for side effects suffered from their use of the acne drug Accutane.
Jurors in N.J. State Court in Atlantic City deliberated for only six hours and returned a verdict in favor of Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkison. Each was awarded $9 million in damages for suffering brought on by inflammatory bowel disease as a result of their use of Accutane. Both Rossitto and Wilkinson claimed that Roche failed to warn them of this debilitating side effect. Roche, based in Basel, Switzerland, has now lost nine of 13 cases by former Accutane users that have been brought in U.S. courts since 2007.
“We are pleased that the jury found on behalf of Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson and provided a measure of justice for the horrible injuries inflicted upon them by Roche’s drug,” said David Buchanan, a New Jersey-based lawyer for the two plaintiffs, the Bloomberg article states.
Additionally, Roche is facing scrutiny from the European Medicines Agency for failing to evaluate reports of safety issues with some of its products, and whether E.U. health authorities should be notified of dangers to citizens of member countries. Although, according to the Bloomberg story, European regulators have not found any deficiencies in any of the company’s products, the agency did announce on June 21, just days before the New Jersey verdict, that it found “about 80,000 involving medicines marketed in the U.S. that hadn’t been evaluated to determine whether they should be given to the EU as suspected adverse reactions.”
About 16 million people have used Accutane since it came on the market in 1982. Roche discontinued the sale of the brand-name drug in 2009, after juries awarded millions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs who claimed to have suffered from inflammatory bowel disease.