The Swiss manufacturer of a drug used to inhibit the effects of the bird flu virus will negotiate with generic drug companies to increase production, two U.S. senators announced Thursday.
Tamiflu is the most effective drug in treating bird flu.
Roche Holding AG will meet with four companies and maybe more in coming weeks, all in an effort to work out a licensing agreement that would allow other companies to produce Tamiflu, which is in great demand throughout the world.
The two senators met with George Abercrombie, head of Roche Pharmaceuticals in North America.
Generic manufacturers cannot legally sell the patented drug in the West and parts of Asia. Roche holds the patent, but it agreed to sub-license the production of Tamiflu to any company that can produce it in quantities large enough to help meet anticipated demand, Schumer said.
The determination of who gets the license will be made in cooperation with the U.S. government and other governments around the world, the senators said, AP reports.