Generic Accutane Lawsuits May Be Included in New Jersey Litigation

The New Jersey state court judge presiding over thousands of Accutane lawsuits filed in the state over serious bowel problems caused by the acne medication, has indicated that lawsuits over generic Accutane should also be centralized as part of the mass tort program in her court.

On March 14, the Administrative Director of the Courts of New Jersey sent a notice to the state bar that the court was considering combining generic Accutane lawsuits with cases involving the use of brand-name Accutane, which was manufactured by Roche. The consolidation was proposed by Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee, who is currently assigned to the New Jersey Accutane litigation.

Accutane, known generically as isotretinoin, has been used by more than 16 million people worldwide since it was first introduced in the early 1980s as a treatment for severe acne. Roche discontinued Accutane in June 2009 due to the increasing costs associated with the Accutane lawsuits, but a number of generic versions remain available under names such as Claravis, Sotret, Amnesteem and generic isotretinoin.

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The allegations contained in Accutane suits and generic isotretinoin lawsuits both indicate that the drug makers failed to adequately research the medication or warn that the side effects of Accutane can cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

A deadline of April 15 has been set by the New Jersey courts for anyone wishing to comment on or object to the proposed consolidation. Defendants in generic Accutane complaints include Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy, Pharmaceuticals, Barr Pharmaceuticalls, Cardinal Health 409 Inc., and Genpharm.

The motion comes as an Accutane trial involving actor James Marshall and two other plaintiffs enters its second month in Judge Higbee’s New Jersey courtroom. Marshall, 44, known for his roles in the television show Twin Peaks and the movie A Few Good Men, had his colon removed due to ulcerative colitis; putting an end to his acting career. Marshall blames Accutane side effects for the ailment.

Roche currently faces about 3,000 Accutane bowel lawsuits, and the drug maker has lost all six trials that have previously reached a jury, with millions of dollars in Accutane compensation being awarded to individuals who have suffered problems from Accutane.

The number of Accutane cases filed in New Jersey continues to increase as former users discover that there may be a connection between their bowel problems and Accutane. Awareness of the link has increased following news coverage of prior trials and television advertisements by Accutane lawyers who are reviewing potential lawsuits.


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