Glaxo boosts case for Relenza in flu prevention

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The Independent Online

Glaxo Wellcome, the pharmaceutical group, has received a boost to its plans to sell Relenza, its controversial flu drug, as a preventative medicine.

Glaxo Wellcome, the pharmaceutical group, has received a boost to its plans to sell Relenza, its controversial flu drug, as a preventative medicine.

Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) is expected to formally confirm that it is recommending Relenza be made available on the NHS as a flu treatment for the elderly and those with respiratory conditions. Last year Nice said there was insufficient evidence to make the recommendation.

A study in The New England Journal of Medicine ( NEJM) has shown that Relenza can prevent flu spreading within families and could work as a supplement to flu vaccines.

Analysts say Relenza will generate material sales only if it gains prophylaxis approval.

The Food and Drug Administration, the US regulator, has assigned priority status to Glaxo's application that Relenza be approved as a prophylactic for influenza A and B in adults.

The NEJM study found that Relenza can reduce the probability of catching flu from an infected family member from 15 per cent to just 3 per cent, if it is taken within 36 hours of exposure.

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