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Federal Appeals Court to Hear Accutane Lawsuit

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Thursday, August 21, 2008 9:51 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Accutane, Isotretinoin, Acne Drugs, Dangerous Drugs, Hoffman-La Roche, Inflammatory Bowel Disease


IMAGE SOURCE: © WikiMedia Commons / Isotretinoin / author: Fvasconcellos

Whether or not, to allow testimony from an expert witness who can show a connection between the drug Accutane (Isotretinoin) and inflammatory bowel disease, – is the decision before a federal appeals court, in Georgia.

On Tuesday, attorneys urged the three-judge panel to allow testimony from their chief witness, a Michigan gastroenterologist, whose testimonial is fundamental to their argument showing a connection between the drug and stomach disorder.

Hoffman-La Roche, the drug maker, disputes claims that Accutane is associated with inflammatory bowel disease and says the expert made “leaps of faith” in trying to establish such a connection between the two.

This case is one of many in a series of lawsuits accusing major drug manufacturers of downplaying a connection between Accutane and inflammatory bowel disease, a disorder that inflicts as many as 1.5 million people in Canada and the United States.

The suit, filed by Justin Rand in August 2003, alleges the drug Accutane, caused his inflammatory bowel disease. In November 2004, eight other cases were merged into one, each seeking unspecified damages.

The plaintiffs have won a three multi-million dollar jury awards and say they have several hundred other patients with similar cases pending.

» The first Accutane lawsuit yielded $2.619 million to a man who claimed Accutane caused his inflammatory bowel disease. The man claimed that the drug's manufacturer failed to warn customers of the serious side effects that caused him to have multiple surgeries, including the removal of his colon.

» In the second Accutane lawsuit, Roche was ordered to pay $7 million to man who had to have his colon removed after taking the drug.

» The third Accutane lawsuit yielded $10.2 million to a New Jersey man.

A warning label on the bottle states the drug “is associated with inflammatory bowel disease,” but the company maintains that is not the case and the drug does not cause the disorder.

Accutane, is used in the treatment of resistant nodular cystic, the most severe form of acne. It was approved by the FDA in 1982.

The ruling by the appeals court could determine whether trial lawyers use similar arguments to sway juries around the nation on comparable drug cases. #

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