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FDA approves generic drug for advanced cancers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it has approved the first generic version of the Roche drug, Xeloda for advanced breast, colon and rectal cancer.

The agency granted approval to two generic formulations made by TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA. Generic drugs launch after the patent on the original drug expires or is successfully challenged in court. Generic drugs can cost 30 to 80 percent less than the original products.

Xeloda is used to treat cancer after it has spread to other parts of the body.

The National Cancer Institute estimates 39,620 women will die of cancer this year and 50,830 people will die of colon and rectum cancer.

The most common side effects associated with Xeloda include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, pain, redness and swelling.

Teva is based in Israel, and Roche is based in Switzerland.