GSK increases production of Relenza in Zebulon

Staff WriterApril 27, 2009 

GlaxoSmithKline has increased production of its Relenza flu drug in response to the swine flu outbreak, providing a boost to the drug maker’s factory in Zebulon.

The plant makes a variety of GSK products, including Relenza. The British company announced Monday that it had supplied 100,000 packs of the drug and 170,000 additional doses of seasonal flu vaccine to Mexico.

GSK also is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other government agencies to determine additional Relenza need, said company spokeswoman Sarah Alspach.

She declined to comment on how much new Relenza is being made in Zebulon. GSK also makes the flu drug at a plant in France.

GSK last year laid off more than 150 workers at the Zebulon plant, part of a broader series of layoffs to reduce costs. The plant still employs more than 800 who produce migraine and HIV drugs and package the asthma drug Advair.

On Monday, drug maker Roche Holding also announced it is increasing production of Tamiflu. Both Relenza and Tamiflu have to be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective.

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