SINGAPORE, June 29 The governments of Australia,
New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore have bought GlaxoSmithKline's
(GSK.L) Relenza flu treatment since the H1N1 outbreak began in
April, a top GSK official said on Monday.
GSK Asia Pacific director Christophe Weber told Reuters the
firm had advised governments to keep the inhaled Relenza drug
at 30-50 percent of their overall flu drug stockpiles, which
mainly comprise the Tamiflu capsule made by competitor Roche
"There have been some publications showing that there is
some level of resistance developed for Tamiflu," Weber said on
the sidelines of a GSK media seminar in Singapore.
"In case there will be more resistance to Tamiflu, and
Relenza will be a good alternative," he said.
Weber declined to say amount or value of orders by the four
countries, saying he would rather those governments disclosed
their orders themselves.
Glaxo's partner Biota Holdings BTA.AX, which originally
developed the medicine and earns a 10 percent royalty on
Australian sales, said in May that Canberra had bought an
additional 1.6 million courses at A$43 million ($33.7 million).
On completion of the supply contract, the Australian
National Medical Stockpile will hold 3.4 million courses of
Relenza, or 33 percent of the country's total stockpile of
antiviral flu drugs.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the first 21st
century flu pandemic this month and advised governments to
prepare for a long battle against the new H1N1 flu virus.
As of June 26, it had killed 306 worldwide with the number
of confirmed cases of H1N1 at least 67,072.
The flu has spread widely after emerging in April in Mexico
and the United States. The WHO warned the pandemic could last a
year or two.
(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Alex Richardson)