Swiss drug maker Roche has no plans to produce Tamiflu in Indonesia

Swiss drug maker Roche does not have any plans to produce Tamiflu in Indonesia, a local executive said Thursday, citing the complexities of manufacturing the bird flu anti-viral drug. Roche, which is under growing pressure to ease its control on the manufacture of Tamiflu, has said it's willing to work with governments and other companies to produce more of the drug and was already doing so.

"We do not have any plan to do so" in Indonesia, where three people died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the last five months, said Dr. Mejri Ait-Allah, president director of Roche's local subsidiary. "The manufacturing process is very complicated," he said, adding Roche sees India and Taiwan as two good candidates for local production. "The manufacturing process is very complicated," he said, while stressing the crucial role of education in battling bird flu, saying that was even more important than having the drug. Indonesia's health minister said Thursday the government had a stock of 700,000 capsules of Tamiflu, also known as Oseltamivir, the only treatment so far proven effective against bird flu in humans. Minister of Health Siti Fadillah Supari said the medicine, which according to the distributor is enough to treat 70,000 people, had been provided by donor countries and agencies, reports the AP. I.L.

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