Requesting Relenza data

22nd May 2013

In 1989 scientists at Glaxo Wellcome formulated the first of a new class of drugs, neuraminidase inhibitors, for the treatment of influenza A and B infections. Zanamavir, marketed as Relenza, was approved for use in the US in 1999.

Alongside Tamiflu, Relenza was included in the systematic review and meta-analysis  Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults. Like Tamiflu, it became apparent to Cochrane researchers Tom Jefferson and Peter Doshi, that they had not been able to access the full dataset available on the drugs.

As Relenza has to be administered by inhalation, during the swine flu pandemic it wasn’t stockpiled as a frontline drug. This concentrated the Cochrane reviewers’ attention on Tamiflu. Their campaign to gain access to the data can be seen in a series of email correspondence between the principal stakeholders at

In that time though, the team still sought access to the clinical trial data for Relenza as shown in the correspondence chain below. Each entry contains the correspondence in a three month period.

This article appears in full on the BMJ webpage.