Accutane (isotretinoin) is a powerful drug used to treat cystic acne. It was often prescribed when antibiotics and topical medications failed to properly treat this skin condition. Upon its launch in 1982, Accutane accumulated 16 million users. Since that time period, more than 7,000 personal injury lawsuits have been filed by Accutane side effect attorneys, and hundreds are still pending. Many of the cases have been consolidated on the federal level in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Florida and in mass torts at the state level in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
In 2008, a jury awarded a woman with inflammatory bowel disease $10.5 million in compensatory damages and $78,500 for medical expenses. She began taking Accutane at age 12 and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 14, but the judge said there was not enough evidence for punitive damages.
In 2010, the largest Accutane award to date was ruled in favor of Andrew McCarrell who also developed inflammatory bowel disease. McCarrell underwent five surgeries over the course of roughly fifteen years with the final result being his colon being fully removed. Roche Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Accutane, paid out $25.16 million to the plaintiff. Judge Carol E. Higbee stated that McCarrell's "testimony and that of his wife and doctors presented a picture of probably the worst case of pain, suffering and loss of quality of life I ever heard described in my eighteen years on the bench."
In 2012, two Accutane patients, Kathleen Rossitto and Riley Wilkinson, who developed ulcerative colitis from the drug, were each awarded $9 million in compensatory damages. The Atlantic City jurors concluded that Roche failed to give proper warning of inflammatory bowel disease risks.
Though there is no decisive evidence to prove the link between isotretinoin and IBD (including ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), a large number of Accutane lawsuits and FDA reports suggest that the link exists.
In 2009, Roche Pharmaceuticals decided to pull Accutane off the market reporting that their decision was based on sluggish sales due to a growing competition for generics. Generic equivalents include Amnesteen, Claravis and Sotret. Roche continues to sell isotretinoin under the name Roaccutane in other countries.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by Accutane prescribed by a doctor, please fill out the case form located on the upper-right side of this page. Your case details will be reviewed by an Accutane side effect lawyer. There is no obligation and one of our qualified attorneys will review your case free of charge to determine if you have a claim against Roche Pharmaceuticals.