Justin Norrie, Tokyo
Thu, 01 Mar 2007 05:43 CST
JAPANESE health authorities are investigating a flu medication also available in Australia after a teenager who took it jumped 11 storeys to his death – at least the 18th juvenile fatality linked to the drug in 17 months.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has asked the Japanese importer of Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug regarded as the most important shield against bird flu in humans, to collect information about the conditions of patients who take it.
The 14-year-old boy’s death follows a similar case two weeks ago when a girl of the same age died after jumping from an apartment building at Gamagori in central Japan.
It also comes after a warning by the US Food and Drug Administration late last year about the potential dangers of giving Tamiflu to children. The drug is being stockpiled in Australia and elsewhere as the first line of defence against bird flu.
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