Saturday, October 22, 2005

Taiwan to go ahead with Tamiflu, with or without permission of patent holder

Taiwan says it is making its own version of the best-selling antiviral drug Tamiflu, whether its original manufacturers agree or not.

The authorities say they still hope talks with the exclusive licensee, Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Roche will bear fruit, but that the priority is to protect the public from the worst effects of bird flu.

The BBC reports that the proposed product in Taiwan is not identical to Tamiflu:

A generic version of the drug produced by the island's National Health Institute is said to be 99% akin to the Tamiflu produced by Roche.

Officials say they can make their version of the drug more quickly - and at a lower cost - than Roche does.

Although Taiwan has not had a serious outbreak, the virus has killed thousands of poultry - and scores of people who came into contact with the birds - in nearby countries.

Tamiflu is a chemical compound. There is no such thing as a generic version of a compound which is only 99% "akin" to the compound. Thus, it is not clear what is going on here.

Tamiflu is hard to synthesize, and, separately, it is not even clear that Tamiflu will be effective, even if taken within 48 hours of exposure.


Post a Comment

<< Home