Thursday, July 2, 2009

Accutane removed from the market: different views on the story

Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, is pulling its Accutane acne medicine from the U.S. market. Although, as the story in the Associated Press states, "the drug has a rocky safety history, having been linked to birth defects if taken during pregnancy, along with depression and suicidal thoughts", the company claimed the decision was made for economic reasons, not safety reasons. Not surprisingly, there are different reactions to the story. The PopTort celebrates it in a post titled "Accutane Finally Removed From the Market Proving Again That Lawsuits Are the Last Line of Defense Against Unsafe Drugs" (available here), while The Drug and Device Law Blog laments it arguing "If you ever need another example of the cost of litigation driving a beneficial drug off the market, add Accutane to your list." (available here.) The PopTort's post has links to information related to the FDA's possible removal of the drug many years ago, its controversial warnings, the drug's links to suicides and to the fact that the drug has been removed from the market in eleven other countries. The Drug & Device Law Blog focuses only on the lack of evidence to support the claim that Accutane caused inflammatory bowel disease and provides links to sources that supports their position.

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