Friday, October 21, 2005

Roche to meet with generics about making of Tamiflu

Oct. 21, 2005: Roche has agreed to meet with four generic drug companies to discuss allowing them to manufacture Tamiflu, which countries have stockpiled to prepare for a possible pandemic arising from avian flu. (NY Times)

The bottleneck on Tamiflu has basically been broken," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), said after meeting with George Abercrombie, head of Roche Pharmaceuticals in North America. Abercrombie did not talk with reporters, but he said in a statement that Roche had agreed to enter into discussions with other companies. Abercrombie met yesterday with Schumer and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Generic manufacturers cannot legally sell the patented drug in the West and parts of Asia. Roche holds an exclusive license to the patent (Gilead holds the patent.) Companies would need permission from Roche - and government approval - to make the drug.

**from UPI

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said they had received assurances from Roche that it would meet with Teva Pharmaceuticals, Barr Laboratories, Mylan Laboratories and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals in the coming days to determine how to boost production of Tamiflu, which is in high demand as a potential treatment to prevent infection by the avian-flu virus.

Roche has agreed to issue manufacturing sub-licenses for the companies, "who demonstrate appropriate capabilities to manufacture Tamiflu in order to accelerate product supply," Schumer and Graham said in a news release issued prior to a meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.

H5N1, as this avian-flu virus strain is known, first began infecting humans in 1997 in Southeast Asia. Since then it has infected 120 people, most of whom have had close contact with birds.


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