By Bloomberg News
on March 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM, updated March 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM
A New Jersey jury today found drug maker Roche failed to properly warn
Kamie Kendall's doctors that acne medicine Accutane could cause ulcerative
colitis and were liable for her injuries.
Drug maker Roche must pay more than $1.5 million in damages to a woman
who developed bowel disease after using the company’s Accutane acne
medicine, a jury ruled in her retrial.
Officials of Basel, Switzerland-based Roche failed to properly warn Kamie
Kendall’s doctors that Accutane could cause ulcerative colitis and
were liable for her injuries, jurors in state court in New Jersey concluded today.
It was the second trial of Kendall’s Accutane claims. A New Jersey
appeals court overturned a $10.5 million verdict in 2010, ruling that
a judge improperly barred Roche from using evidence about the medication’s
use. Roche has lost 10 of 13 suits brought by former Accutane users that
have gone to trial since April 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“This is another in a long line of juries that have found Roche knew
this drug caused bowel disease and wrongfully withheld that information
from patients and their doctors,” Mike Hook, Kendall’s lawyer,
said in a phone interview.
About 16 million people have taken Accutane, once Roche’s second-biggest
selling drug, since it went on the market in 1982. Roche, which recently
exited its shuttered its sprawling campus on the border of Nutley and
Clifton, lost patent protection in 2002 and continued to sell the drug
along with generic competitors. In addition to bowel disease, Accutane
has been linked to birth defects and depression.
Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, pulled its brand-name
Accutane off the market in 2009 after juries awarded millions of dollars
in damages to former users over the bowel-disease claims.
In 2012, a New Jersey jury ordered Roche to pay a total of $18 million
to two former Accutane users. The same jury rejected claims by two other
patients who blamed their bowel ailments on the drug.