Accutane is being taken off of shelves by manufacturer Roche Holding AG after yet another successful jury verdict found that the drug causes inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Jury verdicts for IBD have totaled about $33 million to date.
The drug was introduced in 1982, has been taken by 13 million people, and was the company’s second-best-selling drug before generic drugs began competing with it in 2002. After that time, the manufacturer only has 5% of the market share.
The drug has been besieged by lawsuits for some time. Besides suits alleging the drug causes IBD, other suits allege the drug causes birth defects and depression. You may recall a recent suit by U.S Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, who alleged that his son’s suicide was caused by Accutane (the judge granted summary judgment in favor of the company, there).
Of course, the company stated that it stands behind its drug but simply had to withdraw because of insurmountable competition and the rising cost of personal injury lawsuits. It’s too bad they can’t just recognize that there may be problems with the drug. It’s like medical malpractice—sometimes, people just want an apology.