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Another Significant Verdict Awarded to Woman Who Used Acne Drug, Developed Permanent Gastrointestinal Damage

It’s tough enough for individuals suffering acne to suffer the effects of the common skin disease, so when a company’s dangerous acne medication adds insult to injury – or, rather, injury to injury – the consequences are even more exasperating.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were pleased to hear that justice was served in a recent case against the makers of the drug Accutane, which caused gastrointestinal damage to a woman who used the product in the hopes of getting rid of her skin affliction.

Accutane, a medication used primarily to treat cystic acne, was produced by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Though Accutane and its active ingredient, isotretinoin, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1982, it was pulled from the market in 2009 after juries awarded millions of dollars in damages to former Accutane users over inflammatory bowel disease claims. Other side-effects of Accutane have reportedly included birth defects, major depressive disorder, advanced bone age and stunted growth, as well as suicidal ideations.

In this particular case, the woman took the drug as prescribed and developed serious complications, including ulcerative colitis and lupus-like symptoms, and subsequently permanently lost nighttime bowel control, court records show.

A Chicago personal injury attorney will attest that Illinois products liability law dictates that when corporations manufacture a product, especially in cases of pharmaceutical production, they have a responsibility to test that product to ensure its safety and effectiveness before the product is put on the market and sold to consumers. This is especially true for companies that produce medicine, and whose products must undergo extensive testing before they are distributed to consumers. When a company makes a product that is flawed and that product harms the person using the product, the company may be held legally responsible for the customer’s injuries.

A failure to warn – the type of products liability negligence giving rise to this lawsuit – occurs when a company markets a product that they know to be potentially hazardous, and fails to warn consumers of the latent danger. Here, the jury deciding this case found that Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical conglomerate, did not provide adequate warning of the risks associated with taking the drug, which led to the woman developing ulcerative colitis from using the product.

This specific case is the eighth major lawsuit against Hoffmann-La Roche asserting that use of their product lead to serious intestinal complications; in all eight cases, juries have sided with the victims, and have issued verdicts against Hoffmann-La Roche totaling $47 million in damages. Hoffmann-La Roche is currently facing more than 3000 additional lawsuits related to the use of Accutane and its effect on colorectal health.

If you or a loved on have used Accutane and have suffered injury as a result of the negative side effects, talk to your doctor immediately, and contact an attorney to learn whether you are entitled to compensation under the law.