Product News and Recalls

New Jersey Jury Awards $1.58 Million in Accutane Trial Verdict

In the case Rees v. Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., a New Jersey jury awarded the plaintiff $1,587,928 in what is the ninth straight Accutane trial verdict in favor of plaintiffs. The jury found that the drug could cause ulcerative colitis and that Hoffman-La Roche, its manufacturer, failed to adequately warn of this risk. Trial ran from January 27 to March 10, and the jury rendered its verdict in less than a day.

Accutane was a drug for treatment of acne, although it is no longer in production. It has been linked to ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, although the manufacturer denies this connection. In the Rees case, the plaintiff took the drug to treat acne when she was 15 years old. She eventually developed ulcerative colitis, and as a result her large intestine had to be removed.

The jury award represented $87,928 for past medical expenses and $1.5 million for pain and suffering. The case had been tried once before and resulted in a verdict of $13.6 million. After that judgment was overturned on appeal, the case was retried before an entirely different jury; hence the different views leading to a different verdict. This is the opposite of what happened in another Accutane appeal, where a retrial led to a verdict that was ten times the first judgment.

Additional Accutane lawsuits are scheduled for trial, and there are thousands of such lawsuits. It is hoped that at some point, Hoffman-LaRoche will come to agree with the dozens of jurors that have found it liable and begin to settle these Accutane lawsuits, after having made billions in sales of the drug.