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New Jersey Mass Tort in Generic Accutane Lawsuits

Elise Kramer | March 16th, 2012

Discovery in lawsuits that deal with generic versions of the controversial acne treatment Accutane has been stayed through April 16, 2012 per an order signed by New Jersey Judge Carol E. Higbee. The deadline for the completion of core discovery in other lawsuits will be the 26th of April, 2012 for the first wave of litigation and the 10th of June, 2012, for the second wave. The plaintiffs involved in these lawsuits have filed suit against the manufacturer of the brand name version of Accutane, which is also known as isotretinoin. Accutane lawsuits have been filed across the country with many plaintiffs having hired an Accutane lawyer to help them through the legal process.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that generic drug makers should not be held accountable for side effects related to medication if the warning labels on their products matched those on the brand name product. This ruling, known as Pliva v. Mensing, brings a number of lawsuits against generic manufacturers into question.

Mass tort in generic Accutane cases

Nearly 300 cases against manufacturers of generic forms of Accutane were consolidated along with brand name lawsuits in the New Jersey mass tort, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling. Generic Accutane remains on the market despite the fact that Hoffman-La Roche withdrew the brand name drug in 2009 partially because of the growing litigation against it, prompting some to file generic Accutane lawsuits. Those raising allegations with regard to generic forms of isotetrinoin claim that generic Accutane comes with the same potential side effects from Accutane use as its brand-name form.

Should generic Accutane makers be held liable?

It is not clear whether there is a way to effectively hold generic Accutane manufacturers liable for the side effects associated with their product. The stay on Accutane generic discovery, according to Judge Carol Higbee’s order, which was filed on February 6, is intended to “enable the plaintiffs to evaluate the impact on those cases of the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in the cause of Pliva Inc, et al. v. Mensing“. Some Accutane lawyers may amend a generic Accutane lawsuit to name only the brand name manufacturers, or may hold generic manufacturers accountable for failing to send letters out to physicians and patients regarding the risk of Accutane side effects.

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