Accutane Class Action Lawsuit Certification Denied in Canada

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By: Irvin Jackson | Published: July 11th, 2013

An attempt to establish a class action lawsuit in Canada for bowel problems from Accutane has been rejected, after the judge indicated that plaintiffs failed to establish evidence of a link between the acne medication and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Late last month, Canadian Judge Manon Savard refused to certify an Accutane class action lawsuit brought against Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. by Yann Lebrasseur, who was seeking to include all citizens of Quebec that experienced bowel injuries.

Lebrasseur claimed that Roche, the manufacturer of Accutane, failed to adequately warn patients and the medical community about the risk of IBD, which could include ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

According to a report by Law360.com, the judge determined that the plaintiff failed to show how the label warnings were inadequate and failed to show a link between Accutane and IBD in medical literature.

Roche faces thousands of similar Accutane bowel disease lawsuits in the United States, and several juries in this country have already returned multi-million dollar damage awards as a result of the drug makers failure to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the known risk of bowel damage.

Known generically as isotretinoin, Accutane has been used by more than 16 million people worldwide since it was first introduced in the early 1980s. Roche removed the brand name version of the medication from the market in the U.S., citing the mounting costs associated with litigation over Accutane and competition from generic equivalents.

More than 7,000 of the Accutane cases pending in the United States are centralized in New Jersey state court, before Judge Carol E. Higbee. Last year, a New Jersey jury awarded $9 million to two Accutane plaintiffs, finding that the company failed to properly warn doctors and patients of the risk of IBD.

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