Glaxo drug takes step forward

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GLAXO, the pharmaceuticals giant, yesterday moved one step closer to achieving regulatory approval in the United States for the prescription of its anti-nausea drug Zofran for all patients suffering sickness after operations, writes Heather Connon.

An advisory committee of the US Food and Drug Administration recommended to the full board that Zofran, in injectable form, be given approval. This is a critical stage in the process of gaining permission to market the drug.

Zofran, again in injectable form, is already approved for the treatment of nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy in the US. It is also seeking approval for the tablet form of the drug. The group estimates that 30 per cent of surgical procedures cause some vomiting.

Analysts expect Zofran to have sales of between pounds 260m and pounds 270m this year.

Glaxo is due to announce its profits for the year to June on Thursday and the City is expecting pre-tax profits to increase from pounds 1.28bn to about pounds 1.45bn.