Issues relating to medical malpractice are most frequently focused upon individual doctors and hospitals.
As our readers have certainly noted from a number of our prior blog posts, though, pharmaceutical companies, too, are regularly targeted by domestic and international health regulators for misconduct across a wide spectrum. The actions of drug makers -- whether relating to unreported clinical results, unlawful labeling practices, physician kickbacks, misleading marketing tactics or a host of other illegal activities -- often bring about dire -- and, far too often, fatal --- consequences for consumers.
A jury verdict in New Jersey has just underscored that fact by awarding two persons harmed by a pharmaceutical drug $9 million in damages, respectively. The drug maker, Switzerland-based Roche Holding AG, was found to have inadequately warned the plaintiffs of the risks that Accutane -- a formerly top-selling acne drug -- could cause inflammatory bowel disease.
Many millions of people across the world have taken Accutane since its arrival on the market in 1982. Roche took the drug off the market in the United States in 2009 following multiple and high-award jury verdicts for plaintiffs in bowel-disease litigation.
Following the recent verdict, a Roche spokesperson stated the company's view that Accutane was not responsible for the medical harm suffered by either plaintiff, and that Roche would appeal the outcome.
Juries first began hearing Accutane cases in 2007. Since then, Roche has lost nine of the 13 cases that reached a verdict.
Source: Bloomberg, "Roche ordered to pay $18 million to former Accutane users," Jef Feeley, June 29, 2012