Roche seeking others to make Tamiflu bird flu drug

According to Swiss drug maker Roche, the maker of the sort-after bird flu drug Tamiflu, it is seeking for outside producers for its drug, because of the skyrocketing demand amid concerns about a possible bird flu pandemic.

Apparently Roche Chairman Franz Humer has said the company is currently assessing which organisations and countries have the ability to supplement their own capability.

He believes whether or not countries should stockpile the drug was up to individual nations.

Tamiflu, an antiviral drug approved for use as a treatment but not cure for seasonal flu, has been at the centre of escalating demand, amid mounting concerns of a potential flu pandemic that could be caused by the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

It seems countries, companies and individuals have been stockpiling the prescription drug, prompting Roche to suspend deliveries in the United States last week to prevent a run on stocks by consumers and companies.

The accelerated demand for the drug has forced Roche to say it will discuss with other companies, in the main makers of generic or copy cat drugs, and with governments in developing countries, as to whether they can help in the production of the drug.

Roche had previously said it would not let patents stand in the way of getting Tamiflu to patients in case of a bird flu pandemic.

However countries, such as Argentina and Taiwan, have jumped the gun and are saying they will produce their own version of Tamiflu.

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