‘Miracle’ Flu Drug Has Doubters

Xofluza, the first anti-flu medication approved in the U.S. in 20 years, shows signs of not living up to hype.

Created by the Japanese company Shionogi, and marketed in the United States by Genentech, a single dose of Xofluza kills the flu virus within 24 hours. But now scientists say that there may be as many as six strains of the flu for which the medication doesn’t work.

Tokyo’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases “observed that the problem was already found in Shionogi’s clinical trials before approval. It said nearly a quarter of children in late-stage trials were found to have viruses that fought off Xofluza,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Xofluza has a list price of $150 in the U.S. and isn’t much used.

Susan Wilder, MD, who practices family medicine in Scottsdale, Ariz., tells the WSJ that she’s prescribed Xofluza to about a dozen patients. “I think it’s extremely promising, especially in treating strains of flu that are resistant to Tamiflu. Xofluza has a wider range of efficacy than other available flu drugs.”