A New Jersey Supreme Court jury in Atlantic City awarded two plaintiffs $9 million each in damages against Roche Holding over allegations that the acne drug Accutane caused them to develop inflammatory bowel disease.
The jury found that Roche failed to warn plaintiffs Riley Wilkinson and Kathleen Rossitto that Accutane could cause bowel disease, however, the jury rejected claims made by Jason Young and Rebecca Reynolds that Accutane was responsible for their injuries.
Roche officials say they plan to appeal the awards. Chris Vancheri, a spokesperson for Roche told Bloomberg in an emailed statement that “The company believes that the evidence at trial demonstrated that Accutane did not cause this disease and that Roche acted appropriately in providing information to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities.”
On June 21, Bloomberg reports, European regulators decided that Roche systematically failed to determine what drug safety issues should be reported to health officials, however, they did not find evidence that the safety reporting deficiencies harmed patients.
Accutane entered the market in 1982, and was used by some 16 million people. Roche pulled Accutane from the market in 2009 over bowel disease lawsuits. Nine of the 13 Accutane cases that have gone to trial have been decided in favor of the plaintiffs.