The popular acne medication, Accutane, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche, is the focus of personal injury lawsuits in both federal and state courts.  As stated in Roche’s 2009 Annual Report, “Hoffman-La Roche Inc. (“HLR”) and various other Roche affiliates have been named as defendants in numerous legal actions in the United States and elsewhere relating to the acne medication Accutane.  The litigation alleges that Accutane caused certain serious conditions, including, but not limited to, inflammatory bowel disease (“IBD”), birth defects and psychiatric disorders.”  To date, the number of complaints filed against Roche, Accutane’s manufacturer, by victims injured as a result of Accutane use, has climbed to over 1,000. 

State Mass Tort Lawsuits

On May 2, 2008, all of the actions pending in New Jersey state court alleging that Accutane caused IBD were consolidated into one mass tort action in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, titled, In re Accutane Litigation. A mass tort action is a civil action involving numerous plaintiffs against one or more corporate defendants, alleging that they have been harmed in similar ways by the defendants. By consolidating the individual lawsuits into one mass tort action, one judge can coordinate pre-trial proceedings, including discovery and evidentiary rulings.   

The largest damage award to come out of the Accutane mass tort action was issued on February 16, 2010.  The victim, Andrew McCarrell from Alabama, was awarded over $25 million by a New Jersey jury that concluded that Roche’s failure to warn of the side effects of Accutane was responsible for his IBD, and ultimately, the loss of his colon. 

Accutane Mass Tort Allegations

Roche has lost all six state cases that have gone to trial, with verdicts totaling $56 million.  Plaintiffs involved in the Accutane mass tort actions have suffered severe injuries due to Accutane use. The various complaints allege that Roche failed to warn patients about the dangers associated with Accutane use, including:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (including Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Birth defects
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Hair loss
  • Cholesterol level increase
  • Increase blood fat levels
  • Dry lips, mouth, or nose

Plaintiffs in these mass tort actions are seeking compensation for all expenses related to the injuries sustained from Accutane’s severe and life-threatening side effects, including:

  • medical bills
  • pain and suffering
  • permanent disability costs
  • out-of-pocket expenses

Federal Accutane Lawsuits Granted MDL Status

All of the federal court actions against Roche alleging IBD have also been consolidated for pre-trial proceedings.  These federal cases have been consolidated in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.  Like the state mass tort action, the MDL was created in order to simplify pretrial proceedings. Victims involved in the federal Accutane mass tort actions are alleging inflammatory bowel disease, depression and suicide.

Contact an Accutane Lawyer

The Accutane lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are currently investigating Accutane lawsuits related to the serious side effects of Accutane.  If you or a loved one experienced a serious side effect associated with Accutane, you may be eligible to file an Accutane lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.  

If you would like to discuss your legal rights, or are interested in learning more about the Accutane mass tort actions, our Accutane lawyers would be happy to answer your questions.  Contact our law firm today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by