Oct 20 2005

Roche Pharmaceuticals Agrees to Increase Supply of Avian Flu Drug

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he was pleased Roche Pharmaceuticals has agreed to work toward increasing production of Tamiflu. Tamiflu is the only known effective treatment for avian flu and Roche holds the exclusive rights to manufacture the drug. Graham was one of three negotiators trying to reach an agreement. The group included Roche CEO George Abercrombie and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York). Roche has a production facility in Florence, South Carolina. “As a result of this agreement, lives may be saved in the coming months,” said Graham. “Many experts believe it’s only a matter of time before a pandemic flu occurs. Tamiflu, produced by Roche, is the best remedy we have available at this time. We must ensure we are prepared.” “Roche’s willingness to sub-license the vaccine to generic drug companies will increase world-wide stockpiles,” said Graham. “It’s was the ultimate act of good corporate citizenship on Roche’s part.” The agreement states:
  • Four companies – Teva Pharmaceuticals, Barr Labratories, Mylan Labratories and Ranbaxy Labratories – will meet with representatives from Roche. The companies believe they can produce Tamiflu if given the chance and want to step up to serve the global public health need by working in cooperation with Roche.
  • Roche will also meet with additional pharmaceutical companies in cooperation with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discuss producing more Tamiflu.
  • Roche agreed to sub-license production of Tamiflu to any of these companies that can produce it in quantities large enough to help meet the anticipated demand in case of a flu outbreak. The determination as to who gets licensed will be made in cooperation with the U.S. government and other governments around the world.
  • Roche will make reasonable efforts to work with companies who demonstrate appropriate capabilities to manufacture Tamiflu in order to accelerate product supply.
  • For companies eligible for a sub-license, Roche agrees to negotiate equitable terms.
“The agreement is an example of the private sector and government working together to serve the people,” said Graham. “Roche thought of every reason to make it happen and not reasons why it couldn’t. As negotiated, this agreement is mutually beneficial for both the public health sector and the company. I’ve been very pleased to be part of something like this.” #####