By Jef Feeley and Sophia Pearson
June 26, 2008
Roche Holding AG, the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs, is pulling its Accutane acne medicine from the U.S. market after juries awarded at least $33 million in damages to users who blamed the drug for bowel disease.
Free Accutane Case Evaluation Roche said it 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, officials of Roche's Nutley, New Jersey-based Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. unit, which makes the drug, said in a statement.
"In addition, Roche has been faced with high costs from personal-injury lawsuits that the company continues to defend vigorously," company officials said in the statement.
About 13 million people have taken Accutane since it went on the market in 1982. The medication was Roche's second-biggest selling drug before the patent expired in 2002 and rivals started selling generic versions. Roche's prescription market share of the drug is now below 5 percent, the company said.
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