‘Miracle’ 24-hour flu pill Xofluza foiled by resistant strains
TOKYO—A new pill that can kill the flu virus in 24 hours with a single dose has become the most-prescribed influenza treatment in Japan, which is suffering through its worst flu season in two decades.
The pill, called Xofluza, was discovered by Osaka-based Shionogi4507, -2.70% and it was approved last year by regulators in Japan and the U.S. In the U.S., it is marketed by Roche Holding AG’sRHHBY, +1.66% Genentech unit.
The drug quickly gained the top share in Japan, according to Shionogi’s data, in part because of its ease of use. Roche’s Tamiflu, the best-known competitor, is generally taken twice a day for five days, while Xofluza is taken just once. A small number of patients report side effects such as diarrhea and bronchitis, according to Genentech.
The drug is still relatively little-used in the U.S., where the list price is $150 for patients without insurance. It was the first anti-flu medication approved in the U.S. in nearly 20 years.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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