On March 12, 2009, a New Jersey Superior Court judge upheld the admissibility of expert testimony concerning the side effects of Accutane.  The expert, a doctor specializing in bowel disorders, testified that Accutane caused the plaintiff, Andrew McCarrell, to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Roche, the manufacturer of Accutane, had challenged the doctor’s testimony about this Accutane injury, arguing there was insufficient scientific evidence of the link between Accutane and IBD.  

Expert Testimony of Accutane Injury

During the trial, Dr. David Sachar explained how Accutane, designed to cure serious acne, can cause an Accutane injury to the colon.  Dr. Sachar, an MD, is also a professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the former chairman of the FDA advisory committee on gastroenterology.  Dr. Sachar has specialized in IBD, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis for thirty years.  He explained first how Accutane worked, and then explained how Accutane can injure the lining of the intestines.  He explained that the walls of the intestines become inflamed, which can lead to chronic IBD, a serious Accutane injury.

Accutane-induced IBD can manifest itself in two ways:  as Crohn’s disease, or as ulcerative colitis.  Both cause inflammation and ulcers.  While ulcerative colitis affects only the inner lining of the colon, Crohn’s disease can cause injury to any part of the digestive tract.  Although symptoms may come and go, IBD is a permanent Accutane injury.

McCarrell’s Accutane Injury

McCarrell suffered from common side effects of Accutane when he took the drug in 1995, including bloodshot eyes, chapped lips, and joint pain.  One year later, he suffered an additional serious Accutane injury, IBD.  This Accutane injury manifested itself through abdominal pain and diarrhea, accompanied by a recurrence of McCarrell’s former Accutane injuries, even though he was no longer taking the drug. 

Originally, doctors diagnosed him with ulcerative colitis, but later discovered he had Crohn’s disease.  He underwent several surgeries as a result of his Accutane injury, including a colectomy (a procedure in which the entire colon and rectum are surgically removed and replaced with a pouch) and a diverting ileostomy (a procedure in which the small intestine is brought through the abdominal wall to drain into the pouch).   

McCarrell’s Accutane Injury Lawsuit

McCarrell did not make a connection between his Accutane injury and his Accutane use until years later.  In 2002, his grandmother showed him an article concerning Accutane injuries and McCarrell decided to sue Roche.  Originally, a lower court ordered Roche to pay McCarrell $119,000 for his medical expenses and $2.5 million in compensation for his Accutane injury.  The Superior Court decided the connection between Accutane and the alleged Accutane injury was based on proper scientific methodology, but ordered a new trial because the lower court improperly excluded other evidence. 

Contact an Accutane Injury Lawyer

The lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are currently investigating Accutane injury lawsuits.  If you or a loved one experienced an Accutane injury, you may be eligible to file an Accutane lawsuit seeking compensation.

If you would like to discuss your legal rights and the possibility of receiving compensation for your Accutane injury, contact our law firm today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by