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Japan has flu treatment drugs for 50 million people

world Updated: Sep 08, 2009 17:19 IST

Agencies
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Japan has stockpiled enough Tamiflu and Relenza drugs to treat 50 million influenza- infected patients, the health ministry has said.

While a shortage of vaccines for the new H1N1. Influenza strain is anticipated, there is a big enough stockpile of drugs for conventional flu which have also proved effective for the new flu, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said.

As of the end of August, the state and prefectural governments had a combined stockpile of Tamiflu for 40.95 million people and Relenza for 4.92 million.

In addition, enough Tamiflu for 3.71 million people and Relenza for 900,000 people were in stock at drug wholesalers and medical institutions as of August 17.

Tamiflu is produced by F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. of Switzerland and Relenza is made by GlaxoSmithKline Plc of Britain.

Tamiflu accounts for some 90 per cent of the nation's stockpile as it is more widely available than Relenza.

But as a genetic mutation of the new strain of influenza. A virus resistant to Tamiflu has been found, the ministry intends to raise the ratio of Relenza in the process of increasing the overall stockpile of the two drugs, officials said.

Tokyo metropolitan government has stockpiled enough Tamiflu and Relenza each for two million people.