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Japanese involved in American bird flu drug deals? March 6, 2007

Posted by koda7 in Japan.
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Reuters ran an article today on a major deal struck between BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd.  In essence BioCryst is giving Shionogi the right to manufacture and sell Peramivir in Korea and Japan (U.S. flu drug maker teams up with Japan’s Shionogi, Monday, March 5, 2007).

All that is fine but I ask is this a good decision?  First of all BioCryst has a fairly bad reputation with honesty.  They once lied to 22 clinical test patients about their cancers being cured to boost stock prices, turned out to be lies ( How a cancer trial ended in betrayal, June 24, 2001).  Secondly, the animal trials for this drug were only completed in September 2006.  Thirdly, an earlier oral version of the drug proved highly ineffective.

I guess my point here is that what happen to “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.   Sure a drug that has the potential of dealing with new strands of Influenza (bird flu strains) is a good idea, but I wonder if it would not be better to take a page out of China’s book.   They announced a massive vaccination campaign, of birds: “China will vaccinate billions of domestic poultry over the next few months to guard against an outbreak of bird flu this spring…” (China launches mass bird flu vaccination campaign, Union-Tribune, March 5, 2007).   Does this not appear more realistic as an option.  Well of course it would be pretty difficult to treat a billion people with expensive American experimental drugs.  But more importantly China “will also send experts to help monitor the breeding of poultry and waterfowl, and intensify monitoring of live poultry markets…”.

Perhaps Japan’s willingness to do business with their American friends should be re-evalutated in the case of Influenza?

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