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Accutane mass tort litigation for inflammatory bowel disease

Hoffman-Roche "does not comment on pending litigation," but the plaintiffs lined up against it alleging Accutane (isotretinoin) is responsible for gastrointestinal diseases do, so the resulting National Law Journal article is remarkably one-sided, even omitting that the Accutane plaintiffs just suffered a big loss in the New Jersey Supreme Court. The judge for 347 cases pending in New Jersey state court is Judge Higbee; the first case is scheduled for April 16 in Madison County. The plaintiffs' attorneys have already won a $2.8 million malpractice verdict in Florida for an improper prescription.

No study has proven a link between Accutane use and inflammatory bowel disease. (Indeed, the main web evidence of Accutane use and IBD are plaintiffs' attorneys' webpages.) The Accutane warnings acknowledge that inflammatory bowel disease is considered a possible side effect of Accutane usage. (Roche has changed its warnings more than once.) But the National Law Journal does not care to share the plaintiffs' theory of liability. While the attorneys only have 400 or so plaintiffs signed up, they hope for publicity to sign up "thousands." Well, yes: 0.2% of Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, and five million people took Accutane, so just random chance means that there are at least ten thousand people who can try to blame their IBD on Accutane.

Note that for all the talk about how the recent Merck victory in Madison County suggests that its "judicial hellhole" days are over, plaintiffs' attorneys sure still seem inclined to expedite cases brought to that jurisdiction.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.