The number of Accutane suits filed in New Jersey state court by individuals who experienced severe intestinal problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, continue to pour in.
According to a filing in late July, there are now at least 5,169 lawsuits over Accutane that have been filed in New Jersey state court, representing a sharp increase from the 3,223 suits reported as of early May 2011.
All of the suits involve allegations that side effects of Accutane, a popular acne medication developed by Roche, caused users to develop severe gastrointestinal problems. Plaintiffs allege that Roche and generic drug makers failed to adequately research the medication or warn about the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, which could include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Judge Carol E. Higbee is overseeing the Accutane litigation in New Jersey state court, which has been centralized as a mass tort in Atlantic County.
So far, plaintiffs have been successful in seven out of the first nine cases that have been presented to a jury, with millions of dollars in damages from Accutane being awarded.
In April, a New Jersey jury awarded $2 million in damages to a woman who developed ulcerative colitis from Accutane. However, the same jury declined to award damages to two other plaintiffs involved in the same trial.
Additional groupings of Accutane suits are scheduled for trial later this year and early next year before Judge Higbee in New Jersey. According to a court order issued last month, at least 8 cases will be prepared for trial with jury selection beginning on October 11, 2011. In addition, four other cases will be selected for another Accutane trial that will begin with jury selection on January 9, 2012.