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March 17, 2006

New Jersey Court Opens Door to Accutane Suits by Out-of-State Users

A Michigan plaintiff's products liability suit against Hoffman-LaRoche claiming that his use of the acne drug Accutane nearly caused him to commit suicide may be brought in New Jersey under New Jersey law according to that state's intermediate appellate court (Court's opinion).  A lower court had ruled that the Michigan plaintiff's claim should be controlled by Michigan's product liability statute that offers almost complete immunity for manufacturers of drugs that have FDA approval.  Under New Jersey law, the FDA's approval only raises a rebuttal presumption of non-defectiveness making the state a far more plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction for such suits.  Though no relationship between the drug and depression has been proved, the FDA strengthened the product's warning label in 1998 to state that Accutane may cause depression and psychosis and in rare cases may cause suicidal thoughts or attempts.  See a story by Michael Booth in the New Jersey Law Journal.

JDP

March 17, 2006 | Permalink

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