Experts Doubt China’s New Flu Drug

April 10, 2013 Updated: April 10, 2013

Experts express doubts that China’s new anti-flu drug will be as effective against H7N9 as official sources claim, and point out that the drug, actually developed and patented by an American company, has never been tested against this new strain of flu.

On April 6, China’s State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) announced the approval of a new drug, peramivir, which is allegedly very effective in combating flu and is ready to be manufactured in large quantities. However, many medical experts doubt the effectiveness of the drug and said the manufacture of the medicine may turn out to be a patent violation and a fraud. 

According to Li Song, a researcher at the China’s Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, peramivir has been subjected to eight years of clinical tests, running from the SARS outbreak in 2003 to 2011. It was approved in December 2012 and is said to be ready for release to the mass market.

Li Song’s claim raised doubts among knowledgeable citizens: “This medicine is new, and this is also the first time humans have been infected with the H7N9 influenza. How much evidence is there to prove the ‘noticeable effectiveness’ that is publicized?” 

Sun Zhongshi from the Ministry of Health’s National Rational Drug Use Monitoring System, was reported by state media to have said that peramivir was initially developed for use against the H1N1 influenza. He continued, “But now Chinese patients are infected with the H7N9 influenza, a strain of flu we have never encountered before. There has been no previous treatment, and additionally, the H7N9 virus tends to mutate frequently. Therefore, effectiveness of the new medicine against the H7N9 virus has yet to be proved by any current clinical evidence.” 

Meanwhile, those in charge of SFDA announced that the anti-virus activity of peramivir is the same as that of another anti-flu drug, oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and that experimental results showed no difference between peramivir and oseltamivir in terms of effectiveness and adverse reactions. 

Pharmacologist Dr. Wang Wenyi told NTDTV that oseltamivir had reportedly been used against SARS, but there is no available clinical data to support the claim. 

The Chinese Communist Party regime is “gambling” with people’s lives, Dr. Wang said. “Without large scale clinical study, they release the drug for general market. This is gambling, hoping that it will work.”

The FDA has warned that Tamiflu might cause patients, especially children, mental instability, hallucination and death and in 2012, Japanese media reported that tamiflu could cause a patient difficulty in breathing and even death. 

The regime’s official document on the drug claims that peramivir was independently researched and produced by Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

However, according to an Apple Daily report, Associate Professor Huang Shixian from Hong Kong University said that peramivir was invented by an American pharmaceutical company, BioCryst and was approved by the FDA in 2006. According to BioCryst website, only Japan and Korea are eligible to manufacture peramivir. Huang suspects that the Chinese regime might be infringing on BioCryst’s patents and committing fraud. 

Translated by Amy Lien and Sophia Fang. Written in English by Carol Wickenkamp.

Read the original Chinese article.

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