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Notes about Roche's Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) Products
by Erowid
Sep 2003

Roche has never produced or sold a Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) product for use inside the United States. According to Roche, "Roche made a business decision in the early 1980s not to file for FDA approval of Rohypnol in the United States because similar products were available at that time, including one marketed by Roche." (Erowid correspondence with Roche, 2003)

Through the mid 1990s, Roche sold Rohypnol in the form of white tablets. Responding to concerns about non-consensual use of Flunitrazepam (putting the tablets in drinks to sedate victims in public settings), Roche reformulated their main world-wide product. The new Rohypnol came as a hard green oval tablet (see image) with a coating that made it dissolve slowly and a strong blue dye designed to color any liquid in which it was dissolved, making improper use more difficult. The oval green tablets in 0.5 and 1.0 mg doses replaced the white tablets around the world in 1998, except in Japan.

Although there was some confusion in the late 1990s, partially stemming from a DEA document erroneously indicating that white tablets included dye and green tablets were the old form, the green tablets are clearly the newer design (the photo above shows a scratch revealing the blue dye interior) and Roche representatives confirmed this in Sep 2003.

The white tablets continue to be available Japan, where Rohypnol is only approved for use for in-patient care and not for take-home use. As of 2003, Rohypnol is legally available in more than 60 countries (according to Roche), although no flunitrazepam-containing product is approved for use in the United States.