Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical company that developed and marketed the acne drug Accutane, faces legal action alleging the drug caused inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), depression, and birth defects. There are thousands of lawsuits pending that link the drug to an increased risk of Crohn’s disease. Hoffmann-La Roche removed Accutane from the market in 2009, but generic versions of the drug are still available.
If you took Accutane or a generic and developed IBD, the personal injury lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, may be able to help you file for compensation from the drug company. We can also evaluate cases of birth defects in children born before 2009 and in those who developed severe depression while taking the medication. Our defective drug team is standing by to help you understand your rights and your legal options for holding Hoffmann-La Roche accountable.
Call 713-850-8600 today to talk to an Accutane lawsuit lawyer.
Damages Available in an Accutane Lawsuit or Settlement
Pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to ensure you know about all possible side effects and risks of your prescription medication. When a drug manufacturer fails to give you an adequate warning and you suffer because of it, you may be eligible to take legal action against the company. Depending on the specific details of your case, some of the compensation you might receive covers:
- The cost of your treatment, including any hospitalizations and surgeries;
- The loss of income associated with time away from work;
- Compensation to pay for an inability to return to work because of your illness; and
- Pain and suffering damages to address the emotional effects of your situation.
In some cases, the courts may also award you punitive damages. These damages punish Hoffmann-La Roche and other makers of defective drugs, hopefully preventing similar issues in the future. Punitive damages can often make the payout exponentially larger.
Damages for Surviving Family Members
If the victim died after suffering from severe IBD, depression, or birth defects, their family members may take legal action after their death. When this occurs, the jury could award funeral expenses and other damages normally associated with wrongful death claims to their surviving family.
Health Concerns Connected to Accutane
Most legal action against the makers of Accutane—and the manufacturers its generic alternative, isotretinoin—centers on one of three problems.
IBD, Including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
There is a link between isotretinoin use and the development and worsening of IBD, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While your doctor should inform you about this danger, patients do not always receive a warning before taking the medication. If you received an IBD diagnosis while taking Accutane or after stopping your treatment, you may be eligible to pursue compensation.
Depression, Including Suicidal Thoughts
There is a slight risk—less than 1 percent, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology—that people who use isotretinoin could experience depression, mood swings, and even suicidal thoughts. Currently, anyone with a history of a mental health disorder must have approval from their treating psychologist or psychiatrist to take isotretinoin as acne medication. The drug has carried a warning for this side effect since 2005.
Birth Defects in a Child Conceived While the Mother Took Accutane
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) launched the iPledge program to help prevent women taking Accutane from becoming pregnant. Women who may become pregnant must follow strict protocol to begin isotretinoin treatment and to continue taking the medication.
Even though the FDA placed a black box warning about birth defects on Accutane in the 1980s, some people may still have a valid claim against the drug manufacturer. Children born to mothers who took the drug and became pregnant before the iPledge program launched may be eligible for compensation in some cases.
FDA Warnings About Accutane and Isotretinoin
Since Accutane gained FDA approval in 1982, the oversight agency has issued a number of warnings. These warnings apply to Accutane and other isotretinoin products.
In the mid-80s, the FDA issued a black box warning because of the link between Accutane and birth defects in the children of women who became pregnant while taking the medication.
Mental Health Concerns
In 2005, the FDA issued an alert and mandated a labeling change to warn users about the risk of depression symptoms, mood disturbances, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health concerns.
The iPledge Program
The FDA created the iPledge program to reduce the number of pregnancies that occur in women taking Accutane or isotretinoin. The agency regularly updates the program, and it now addresses a number of health concerns for those taking the drug. It helps reduce the risk of side effects and ensures those who use this medication remain in close contact with their doctor and pharmacist.
Online Purchases of Isotretinoin
The FDA issued a warning advising people not to purchase this medication online or through other channels that do not include your doctor and pharmacist. By buying this medication online, patients do not participate in essential safety procedures to ensure they use the drug properly.
Ongoing Accutane Lawsuits
While Accutane has not been available since 2009, Hoffmann-La Roche still faces thousands of legal cases because of the link between the drug and the development of Crohn’s disease. These cases, consolidated into MCL No. 271, are pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey Atlantic County.
In 2017, a judge ruled the plaintiffs could not rely on specific expert testimony, destroying their case against the drug company. However, the Appellate Division overturned this ruling for more than 2,100 plaintiffs, according to the New Jersey Law Journal. In December, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear a number of appeals in this case, as well. The court will likely hear these cases in 2018.
Talk to an Accutane Lawsuit Lawyer About Your Case
If you believe Accutane or generic isotretinoin caused your IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, the attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, may be able to help you recover compensation for your damages. Our team offers free consultations and can help you understand if you have a valid case. Call us at 713-850-8600 today to get started.