In McCarrell v. Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., a New Jersey jury awarded Andrew McCarrell $119,000 for past medical expenses and $2.5 million in compensatory damages as a result of injuries he sustained from his Accutane use.  In this particular Accutane litigation, McCarrell claimed that the prescription drug caused him to suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, resulting in the removal of his colon.  Roche Laboratories, the manufacturer of Accutane, appealed the lower court’s decision. 

Expert Links Accutane Use to Plaintiff’s Injury

Roche claimed that the plaintiff’s key expert witness in the Accutane litigation failed to use sufficiently reliable methods in concluding that Accutane caused the plaintiff’s inflammatory bowel disease.   Dr. David Sachar is a Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and former chairman of the FDA advisory committee on gastroenterology.   An MD and specialist in IBD and ulcerative colitis, Dr. Sachar testified as a plaintiff’s expert in the Accutane litigation.  Dr. Sachar relied on animal studies, human clinical studies, and published scientific research among other sources prior to testifying.  The defendant corporation itself conducted many of the studies that Dr. Sachar relied on throughout the Accutane litigation.  

On March 12, 2009, the Superior Court of New Jersey upheld the lower court’s ruling that Dr. Sachar used proper scientific methodology in his findings concerning Accutane’s side effects during the Accutane litigation. 

Defective Warnings Result in Accutane Litigation

The Superior Court also dismissed Roche’s argument that the warning labels on Accutane bottles were adequate as a matter of law, holding that the evidence admitted during the Accutane litigation was ample to support the jury’s finding that the labels were insufficient.   

During the Accutane litigation, McCarrell called a labeling expert who testified that Accutane’s labels were “misleading” and “downplayed the risks involved,” despite Roche’s knowledge of Accutane’s serious side effects.  McCarrell’s dermatologist also appeared in the Accutane litigation.  She testified that she relied on Accutane’s label when she prescribed the drug to McCarrell in 1995.  The label did not state that Accutane could cause permanent inflammatory bowel disease even after the Accutane treatment ended.

Accutane Litigation Continues:  Superior Court Orders New Trial

Thereafter, the Superior Court remanded the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.  The court held that evidence regarding the total number of Accutane users in 1995 should have been presented to the jury.  The evidence would have allowed the jury to balance the number of instances of serious Accutane side effects against the total number of Accutane users.  According to the Superior Court, this would have provided the jury with a clearer picture when deciding if Accutane caused the plaintiff’s inflammatory bowel disease.

Free Accutane Litigation Consultation

If you or a loved one experienced a serious side effect associated with Accutane, you may be eligible to pursue Accutane litigation seeking compensation for your injuries.

If you would like to discuss your legal rights, or are interested in learning more about Accutane litigation, our lawyers would be happy to answer your questions.  Contact our law firm today for a free Accutane litigation consultation.

Published November 17, 2011 by