GSK pushes Relenza for flu prep

In a bid to capture its share of the pandemic-prepping market, GlaxoSmithKline has launched a program to help businesses stockpile its anti-flu drug Relenza. The Pandemic Readiness for Employers Program--PREP, get it?--is designed to draw companies that want to maintain a medicine chest for workers in case of pandemic flu.

One option for employers: Buy Relenza at a 31 percent discount off the wholesale price. Option Two: Reserve Relenza at a locked-in price. Like Roche's stockpiling plan for Tamiflu introduced this summer, the Relenza deal puts storage and drug-expiration management in the drugmakers' hands, leaving employers free to simply call for their stock when it's needed.

Though Roche's Tamiflu is considered a first-line treatment in the case of pandemic flu, experts have been advising governments and companies to diversify their stockpiles with Relenza. The H5N1 avian flu virus has already shown some Tamiflu resistance, so having a backup drug is recommended, they said.

- read the GlaxoSmithKline release
- see the story at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy