Kamie Kendall’s colon was removed as a result of inflammatory bowel disease allegedly resulting from the use of the acne medication Accutane (Isotretinoin). Plaintiff attorney Mike Hook told the jury that Ms. Kendall’s condition caused her “to go to the bathroom, with diarrhea and blood, anywhere from 5-20 times per day, and will for the rest of her life.”
Mr. Hook argued that Accutane was a highly toxic drug developed as a chemotherapy, not an acne treatment, but that Roche did not adequately warn of known gastrointestinal risks, and that Ms. Kendall’s treating dermatologist in fact did not know of the risks.
Butler Snow’s Lee Thames, on behalf of Roche, argued that Accutane was one of the most effective acne treatments, and the warnings were adequate. Mr. Thames suggested that Mr. Hook had quoted the Accutane warnings without enough context, and advised the jury, “Look at the whole bloomin’ document, before you decide something.”
On April 22, 2008, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and awarded compensatory damages of $10.5M.
On August 5, 2010, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court published an unpublished opinion vacating the judgment and remanding for a new trial so that Roche could provide quantitative information to the jury relating to the number of Accutane users and the background rate of IBD, to cast light on Roche’s efforts to monitor the risk of harm.