Roche discontinues trial on drug to treat arthritis

PHARAMCEUTICAL giants Roche and Biogen Idec have discontinued the development of an arthritis drug after a series of patient casualties, including some deaths.

The move to stop the production of the ocrelizumab drug comes months after both companies announced they would suspend further treatment using the drug after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told them to put studies on hold.

A number of patients had suffered from infections as a result of the drug, with some leading to death.

Roche and Biogen said the decision to discontinue production of the drug was because the benefits have not outweighed the risks.

Executive vice president of global development and chief medical officer, Hal Barron at Roche said: “Although this outcome is disappointing for patients, Roche remains committed to the development of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.”