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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - (Mealey's) A New Jersey state court jury on April 8 awarded a plaintiff $2.1 million after finding that Hoffman-La Roche Inc.'s acne drug Accutane was a substantial factor in causing her inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and that the company failed to adequately warn her doctor of those risks. However, the same jury returned verdicts in favor of Roche in two other cases tried at the same time, including one involving a Hollywood actor (Gillian Gaghan v. Hoffman-La Roche Inc., No. ATL-L-3361-04-MT, Kelley Andrews v. Hoffman-La Roche Inc., No. ATL-L-3319-04-MT, and James Marshall v. Hoffman-La Roche Inc., No. ATL-L-1246-06-MT, N.J. Super., Atlantic Co.).
The jury in the Atlantic County Superior Court found by 7-0 votes that Accutane was a substantial contributing factor in Gillian Gaghan's development of IBD and that Roche failed to adequately warn Gaghan's physician about the risk, a risk the defendant should have known about before December 1997. The jury voted 5-2 that the failure to warn was a substantial contributing factor to Gaghan's taking Accutane.
Gaghan was awarded the $125,617 in past medical expenses she sought, and the jury awarded $2 million in other unspecified damages on a 6-1 vote.
The jury also voted 7-0 that Accutane was a substantial contributing factor in Kelley Andrews' development of IBD and that Roche failed to warn her physician about IBD risks it should have known about since December 1997. However, the jury voted 6-1 that the failure to warn was a not a substantial contributing factor in Andrews' taking Accutane.
Andrews had sought $566,341 in past medical expenses.
In the third case, the jury voted 6-1 that Accutane was not a substantial contributing factor in the IBD of James Marshall. Marshall, born James Greenblatt, was a model for Gap clothing and is perhaps best known for his role at Pvt. Louden Downey in the movie "A Few Good Men."
Actors Martin Sheen and Brian Dennehy testified about Marshall's acting potential.
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the April 21 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices. In the meantime, the verdict form is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844. Document #28-110421-003V. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
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