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Daiichi Says 34 Died of Its Drug's Side Effects

Jul 18, 2001

Japanese drugmaker Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. said on Wednesday side effects of its anticlotting drug caused 34 deaths in the past two years after some hospitals did not follow proper instructions.

The company said it had no plans to withdraw the drug but would boost education on its use to hospitals prescribing it.

Shares in Daiichi saw the biggest loss on the Tokyo Stock Exchange first section after the report of the deaths, plunging 8.48% to close at 2,645 yen, its lowest close since late May.

Daiichi Pharmaceutical, one of Japan's top 10 drugmakers, had reported the incidents to the Health Ministry and said the deaths were partly due to hospitals that failed to take precautionary steps outlined in its instructions.

The deaths were among 394 cases of side effects confirmed between July 1999 and June 2001 from Panaldine, a drug used to prevent blood clotting in patients in danger of heart attacks and strokes, a company spokeswoman said.

In June 1999, the government instructed Daiichi and 22 sellers of the drug to issue emergency warnings about the side effects to hospitals.

A recent survey conducted by Daiichi of 206 of the 394 side-effect cases found 76% of medical institutions failed to follow instructions on use of the drug, the spokeswoman said.

``We issued additional instructions to medical institutions earlier this year to take precautionary steps, but we aim to reinforce the warnings to minimise cases of side effects,'' she said.

Panaldine, launched in 1981, is the second best-selling drug for Daiichi, bringing the company annual sales of 46 billion yen (US$368.6 million) in 2000/01.

More than one million people in Japan take Panaldine each year, the Daiichi spokeswoman said.

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