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Roche eases developing world Tamiflu access

Roche has launched the Tamiflu Reserves Programme, which will ensure developing countries have access to Tamiflu in the event of a pandemic

Roche has launched the Tamiflu Reserves Programme (TRP), which will ensure developing countries have access to Tamiflu in the event of a pandemic.

The programme will see Roche produce and store Tamiflu (oseltamivir) stockpiles for up to 70 eligible developing countries, who are members of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), and a reduced cost that can be spread over a number of years.

Upon declaration of an influenza pandemic or a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Roche will ship the stockpiled Tamiflu to the governments of the affected countries. The countries will be able to opt to purchase their stockpile at any time.

Roche is currently trying to establish the coordination of orders through a UN partner agency such as the WHO or UNICEF.

David Reddy, global pandemic preparedness task force leader at Roche, said: "This programme enables these countries to reserve Tamiflu for pandemic preparedness for their citizens at a significantly reduced price with the cost of purchase spread over the shelf life of the product thus trying to offer access with affordability. The programme also addresses issues of controlled storage and security for developing nations where this may otherwise be an issue."

Excluding local duties, taxes or tariffs, each pack of 10 Tamiflu capsules will be offered at €5-6 per 75mg pack, €3-3.65 per 45mg pack, and €2-2.55 per 30mg pack. The exact price within the range listed is dependent on the length of time the Roche stores the drug on behalf of the requesting government or UN organisation.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company has taken additional action to improve worldwide access to its Tamiflu vaccine. Sub licences for manufacture have been issued to Hetero in India, Shanghai Pharma and HEC in China, and a technology transfer issued to Aspen Pharmaceuticals in South Africa.

Roche also says it will not file or enforce patents for Tamiflu in the least developed countries to enable local action to be taken in sourcing anti-virals.

This news comes only a couple of weeks after PMLiVE reported that Novartis ruled out free doses of its Influenza A(H1N1) vaccine for developing nations. In May, GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) announced it had received orders from several governments to create a stockpile of its new Influenza A(H1N1) vaccine.

2nd July 2009

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