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A New Jersey court granted Andrew McCarrell, 38, a verdict of $25.16 million against the Swiss drug-maker, Roche Holding AG, for side effects caused by the drug-maker's acne medication, Accutane.
The drug caused McCarrell to lose his colon. Well, more precisely, the drug caused McCarrell to suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, which subsequently led to a colonectomy. Since the colonectomy, McCarrell goes to the bathroom 10 to 20 times a day, suffering from "massive gastrointestinal upset" says his attorney, Michael Hook.
In what was effectively a products liability case, Hook said that Roche knew that the medication could cause inflammatory bowel disease but kept this information to itself. As such, McCarrell's suit claimed they failed to issue adequate warning or disclosure to users about the potential side-effects of the drug.
Says Roche about the failure to inform: "Roche acted appropriately in providing information about Accutane, including a direct warning about inflammatory bowel disease, to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities."
McCarrell originally won a $2.6 million verdict in 2007, but Roche succeeded in having that overturned on appeal.
Roche has reportedly lost $56 million in verdicts so far to six former Accutane users, and faces almost 1,000 suits over the drug. Roche stopped selling Accutane in 2009.
Inflammatory bowel disease is not the only serious side effect that has been alleged to result from Accutane usage. In another much publicized case, the parents teenager Charles Bishop blamed Accutane for their son's suicide, in which he crashed a plane into a Tampa high-rise. The Bishops filed their lawsuit in 2002, but had it dismissed in 2007, stating that emotionally and physically they could not continue the fierce litigation.