News update:Mar 5, 2007

Teenage suicides in Japan linked to bird flu drug

A bird flu chemotherapeutic is currently under investigation in Japan after yet another juvenile has committed suicide, after taking the drug.

The teenager who jumped 11 storeys to his death, is the 18th fatality in 17 months linked to Tamiflu. Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug, is regarded as the most important shield against bird flu in humans. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has asked the Japanese importer of Tamiflu to collect information about the conditions of patients who take the drug. The drug is only available by prescription.
The 14-year-old boy's death follows a similar case two weeks ago, when a girl also 14, died after jumping from an apartment building at Gamagori, in central Japan.
The Swiss manufacturer, Roche, says the rate of deaths and psychiatric disturbances among people taking its medication is no higher than for flu sufferers generally. It denies there is evidence of a direct correlation between the drug and the fatalities.

Editor WorldPoultry

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