A number of countries are now worried that a flu drug made by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) might be linked to a spike in narcolepsy in children.
Several countries in Europe — including Sweden, Finland, Norway, Ireland and France — have seen an increase in the disorder, Reuters reports. More than 30 million people received the drug — Pandemrix H1N1 — between 2009-10. In the 800 cases across Europe, all were given the vaccine before developing symptoms.
Regulators in Europe are currently banning the use of the drug for anyone under 20 years of age. The drug has not been approved for use in the U.S.
A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline says the firm wants to investigate the reported connection between the drug and narcolepsy, but that there is not yet enough data to be considered proof. However, Dr. Emmanuel Mignot — a narcolepsy specialist whom GSK has paid to investigate — told Reuters, “There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children in some countries — and probably in most countries.”