$2.62 Million Verdict – Accutane

By: Seeger Weiss on May 29, 2007

A jury in Atlantic County, N.J. this afternoon returned a $2.62 million verdict to Alabama resident Andy McCarrell against Nutley, N.J.-based pharmaceutical companies Hoffmann La-Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories.

May 29, 2007

$2.62 Million Verdict Awarded to Alabama Resident In Accutane Trial

NEW YORK, May 29, 2007 (PRIMEZONE) — A jury in Atlantic County, N.J. this afternoon returned a $2.62 million verdict to Alabama resident Andy McCarrell against Nutley, N.J.-based pharmaceutical companies Hoffmann La-Roche Inc. and Roche Laboratories. Mr. McCarrell used Accutane for approximately four months in 1995 for the treatment of his acne. Over the next year, Mr. McCarrell began experiencing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, which was later diagnosed as Chrohn’s disease’a severe, debilitating, and permanent form of inflammatory bowel disease. Mr. McCarrell’s case was the first of approximately 400 inflammatory bowel disease cases pending in the New Jersey Superior Court in Atlantic City to reach trial.

The jury found by a vote of nine to one that Roche had failed to provide an adequate warning of the risks of inflammatory bowel disease that it knew or should have known about prior to Mr. McCarrell’s use of the drug in 1995. Similarly, the jury found by a vote of eight to two that Mr. McCarrell’s use of Accutane was the ‘proximate”the natural and probable’cause of his inflammatory bowel disease.

Mr. McCarrell’s trial team was led by Michael Hook and Stephen Bolton of Pensacola-based Hook, Bolton, Kirkland & McGhee, P.A., and David Buchanan of New York-based Seeger Weiss LLP. Completing the team were Paul Smith of Austin, T.X., Nix Daniels and Mary Jane Bass of Beggs & Lane, Michael Rosenberg of Seeger Weiss, and Brian Barr of Levin Papantonio.

In response to this afternoon’s award, Mr. Hook stated: “We’re extremely pleased for Andy. He has suffered a fate few could endure as a result of Roche’s failure to act as a reasonable pharmaceutical company should. The jury’s award will go far in ensuring that he has the care and security that he needs and deserves as he manages his disease in the future.’ Commenting on Roche’s conduct, Hook noted that ‘After considering all of the evidence, the jury recognized the very serious risks of inflammatory bowel and Chrohn’s disease related to Accutane use that Roche was aware of, and the failure of Roche to fully disclose these risks to doctors and the public.’

Mr. Buchanan commented that while the verdict only formally applies to Mr. McCarrell’s case, it bodes well for plaintiffs in the remaining approximately 400 inflammatory bowel disease cases pending in New Jersey. ‘From 1984 until the time Andy took the drug in 1995, Roche failed to strengthen its warning in the Accutane label in the face of mounting internal and external evidence of severe inflammatory bowel disease risk with the drug. Even the modest changes Roche made to the label concerning inflammatory bowel disease after Andy used the drug failed to reflect the conclusions Roche itself had drawn about Accutane inducing this very serious condition. This verdict demonstrates that Roche’s liability to the plaintiffs in the hundreds of pending inflammatory bowel disease cases is very strong.’

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