FDA warns against buying Accutane online
Pregnant women buying Accutane online are at risk of birth defects, miscarriage, infant death, says FDA.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The FDA is warning people - especially pregnant women and girls - not to buy the acne treatment Accutane online because of its potentially dangerous side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration set up a new website on Wednesday to warn the public of Accutane's potential risks to pregnancy, including birth defects, miscarriage, premature births and infant mortality. Patients can also suffer from headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, stroke, diarrhea and muscle weakness, said the FDA.
Accutane is a prescription medicine produced by the Swiss drug giant Roche Holding and it is also available as a generic drug called isotretinoin. Consumers often avoid prescription requirements by buying drugs illegally online.
"Buying this product over the Internet bypasses important procedures to ensure that patients can take this drug safely," said the FDA on the Accutane website.
Roche released a statement supporting the FDA's warning.
"Roche completely supports the FDA's prohibition of sales of Accutane on the Internet," said the Roche statement. "Accutane and all generic forms of isotretinoin are legally available only through iPledge, a restricted distribution and risk management system."
Since Accutane is a low cost drug that competes with generics, it is not a major earner for Roche.
In other news, Roche announced that its cancer drug Avastin has been approved by European regulators to treat women with breast cancer. Roche produces Avastin with the biotech Genentech (down $0.51 to $81.54, Charts), which it partially owns.
Basel-based Roche is own of the largest drug drugmakers in Europe, competing with the French company Sanofi-Aventis (up $0.31 to $43.24, Charts) and the British company GlaxoSmithKline (up $0.42 to $54.46, Charts).