Roche Holding AG working to increase production in event of bird flu pandemic

Swiss-based Roche Holding AG will meet with four companies and maybe more in coming weeks, all in an effort to work out licensing agreements that would allow other companies to produce Tamiflu, which is in great demand throughout the world.The two senators met Thursday 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.

Schumer said he contacted Roche two days ago, and he asked company officials to find other drug companies that they would grant a licence to. Roche, in return, asked the senator to find some companies that would be willing and able to take on the job.

Those four companies are Teva Pharmaceuticals, Barr Laboratories, Mylan Laboratories and Ranbaxy Laboratories. Each believe they can produce Tamiflu if given the chance, the senators said. A.M.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team