Sale of Genentech skin drug `Raptiva' suspended after 3 deaths

European regulators have suspended sales of Genentech's psoriasis drug Raptiva after reports that three patients taking the drug have died of a rare brain infection.

Rapitiva is known to risk four cases of a deadly brain infection along with the skin-clearing treatment, according to officials of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Both the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency said they have received reports of three confirmed deaths and one possible case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML (a fatal case of swelling of the brain), in patients taking Raptiva.

All the cases were reported in the last six months while the FDA announcement came after European Union regulators recommended a ban on marketing the drug.

"The benefits of Raptiva no longer outweigh its risks, because of safety concerns," the European Medicines Agency said.

Rapiva is marketed in Europe by Swiss drugmaker Merck Serono.