Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that it has begun shipping additional quantities of Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) oral suspension (liquid). The added supplies of Tamiflu will begin arriving in pharmacies nationwide and will continue to roll out to wholesale and retail pharmacies during the next several weeks. These shipments add to the millions of treatment courses of the adult-sized capsules already available nationwide and significant quantities of smaller, lower dose capsules shipped in November. Together, the formulations provide various dispensing options for treating children with influenza.
Tamiflu is available in 75 mg capsules for adults, 30 mg and 45 mg capsules for children or oral suspension (liquid) for children or people who have difficulty swallowing capsules. Roche continues to make all forms of Tamiflu, and increasing quantities of Tamiflu oral suspension will become available over the next several weeks through the beginning of next year. The small, low-dose capsules may be easier for children to swallow or may be opened and mixed with sweetened liquids, such as regular or sugar-free chocolate syrup, by parents or caregivers. Also, pharmacies can convert the adult (75 mg) size capsules into a liquid for children if neither the liquid nor small capsule forms of Tamiflu are in stock.
"As influenza continues to be widespread throughout the U.S. and the winter flu season nears, we remain committed to making sure there is enough Tamiflu to meet the needs of both adults and children," said Alexander Hardy, vice president, Anti-Infectives, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. "We are hopeful that news of these shipments will provide added reassurance to parents that there are Tamiflu options available for their children when they need it."
Tamiflu attacks the flu virus at its source, preventing it from replicating in the body. Recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on use of antivirals, such as Tamiflu, in management of seasonal and pandemic H1N1 influenza are available at http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/recommendations.htm.
Tamiflu Manufacturing Capacity
Roche has invested significantly to increase its global manufacturing capacity to meet Tamiflu demand during pandemic preparedness and response. The expanded global manufacturing network, which includes 19 partners in 10 countries on three continents, has enabled Roche to boost Tamiflu production 15-fold since 2004. As a result, Roche has the ability to produce 400 million treatment courses annually, roughly 33 million courses per month if required. At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Roche established the capacity to produce 80 million treatment courses from start to finish in the U.S. each year. Roche continues to work with the U.S. government to provide for the Strategic National Stockpile of antivirals for pandemic preparedness and response.
Worldwide Tamiflu Access
To facilitate availability of Tamiflu on every major continent, Roche has granted four sub-licenses to generic manufacturers for production in China, India and Africa. Roche has donated a total of 10.75 million Tamiflu treatment courses to the World Health Organization (WHO) and offered substantially discounted pandemic pricing to all governments.