LOS ANGELES - RESEARCHERS say they've found a possible new treatment for adults with hard-to-control asthma. Their discovery, however, came at a price.
Scientists of a US government-funded asthma study had to spend nearly US$1 million (S$1.33 million) of taxpayers' money after British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC declined to donate its asthma drug and look-alike dummy medicine for the study, which compared two other treatments.
Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study, chastised Glaxo, saying its actions made the research harder and more expensive to do. Drug companies aren't required to supply their medicines for study, but they often do.
'In the end, the study results provided the truth' - the drug, Spiriva, was as good as Glaxo's Serevent, they wrote. The study was published online on Sunday to coincide with a presentation at a medical meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
About 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. In the US, 22 million Americans have asthma, which kills about 4,000 a year. For people who can't control their asthma with inhaled steroid medicine, current guidelines call for doubling the dose or adding a different drug that relaxes the muscles to help patients breathe.
Researchers tested three inhaled treatments: doubling the steroid dose, adding Glaxo's Serevent or adding Boehringer Ingelheim's Spiriva, which is approved for emphysema and other chronic lung conditions, but not asthma. -- AP