Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (1)

Powerful Acne Drug Forced Off Market By Lawsuits

Effective-Acne-Treatment-Severe-Nodular-AcneThe physical scars will be nothing compared to the emotional scars that will haunt the children.   I recently read  that the effective acne treatment Accutane was pulled off the market this summer quietly ending access to an excellent and effective acne treatment for millions of self conscious teens and young adults.  Accutane, or isotretinoin as it’s known, was used to treat severe nodular acne.

It turns out that Accutane was linked to inflammatory bowel disease, and other side effects resulting in thousands of lawsuits.  It spent twenty five years on the market embroiled in controversy.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982, Accutane has been the subject of controversy for years. It first garnered attention in the late eighties for causing severe birth defects. It has also been known to cause psychiatric problems, and has been linked to hundreds of cases of suicide in the United States. Accutane has also been associated with problems of the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and pancreas, as well as the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and auto-immune systems.


Now apparently it was the inflammatory bowel disease link that did it in with millions of dollars lost in just a handful of lawsuits, with thousands of lawsuits still pending. The company claims that this effective acne treatment was pulled not due to lawsuits, but rather due to increasing competition from pharmaceutical generics.

Roche notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today that it was withdrawing Accutane after a “reevaluation” of its product lines showed it faced serious challenges from generic competitors, company officials said in a statement.

I feel bad for the kids whose lives will be forever traumatized by the emotional scars left from their severe nodular acne.  This effective acne treatment, whose benefits far outweighed the risks for millions of pimply teenagers for their severe nodular acne has been banished by a legal profession that chose to ignore the great benefits lost forever.

As with any medication, one has to outweigh the risks and benefits of therapy.  Every medication I prescribe can cause serious or even life threatening side effects when used as prescribed. One day perhaps the millions of kids left with emotional scars  because an effective acne treatment for their severe nodular acne was pulled from the market may someday sue the company for pulling a product that could have prevented their emotional scars. Perhaps that will be the future gravy train for lawyers, once they’ve forced all drugs off the market.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


One Response to “Powerful Acne Drug Forced Off Market By Lawsuits”

  1. Spot on! Accutane is not for everybody. Yes, it can help for severe acne but it’s not worth it if your condition can be handled with simpler routines or medications.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »