Having been released into interstate commerce in 1982, Accutane (generic: isotretinoin) has been prescribed to approximately 16 million patients in the treatment of severe nodular acne. Unfortunately, an influx of complications following Accutane treatment and subsequent lawsuits forced Roche Holding AG to withdraw their popular acne treatment from the U.S. market in 2009. However, three years later, complications continue to persist. According to a recent court ruling, Roche has been forced to pay $18 million in damages to two former Accutane users who claim the medication was responsible for the development of their serious bowel disease.
As a product of Roche Holding AG, Accutane was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 7, 1982. Immediately following its release onto the U.S. market, Accutane was indicated to assist in the treatment and prevention of severe nodular acne. By the mid 90s, Accutane had become Roche’s second best selling drug.
Accutane’s active ingredient, isotretinoin, belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoids As a retinoid, isotretinoin’s chemical compound resembles that of vitamin A. Retinoids such as isotretinoin work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They inhibit the breakdown of collagen, the protein that keeps the skin firm, and thicken the deeper layer of skin where wrinkles and acne form. Furthermore, isotretinoin prevents skin cells from producing excessive amounts of oil that may lead to severe nodular acne.
However, retinoids are powerful drugs which, if not used correctly, have been known to cause catastrophic complications. Accutane may significantly increase a patient’s risk of contracting inflammatory bowel disease, along with the corresponding conditions ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. For these reasons, Accutane was removed from the U.S. market approximately three years ago. Due to the rate and severity in which the users of Accutane experienced these incidents, Roche has become the target of a massive Accutane lawsuit.
Complicating the already volatile situation facing Roche, is the recent ruling of an Accutane lawsuit. Filed on behalf of Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson, each of whom have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) after receiving Accutane treatment, plaintiffs alleged that Roche failed to properly warn them of the dangerous side effects associated with the medication. Following a six hour jury deliberation, Rossitto and Wilkinson were each awarded $9 million in compensatory damages.
In a following phone interview, plaintiff representatives were “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.”
Contradictory to the ruling passed by the jury, representatives of Roche Holding AG believe that the pharmaceutical company is innocent on all charges. According to an e-mail written by Chris Vancheri, a U.S.-based spokesman for Roche, “The company believes that the evidence at trial demonstrated that Accutane did not cause this disease and that Roche acted appropriately in providing information to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities.”
Following this recent ruling, Roche has now lost nine of the 13 Accutane lawsuits brought against them since 2007.
Do I Have an Accutane Lawsuit?
The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in Accutane lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has been injured by Accutane, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.