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Tamiflu, a pricey antiviral pill invented in a Bay Area lab and made in part from a spice used in Chinese cookery, has emerged as the world's first line of defense against bird flu should the deadly strain begin its feared spread among human beings.
As nations begin to stockpile the drug in anticipation of a flu pandemic, calls are mounting for countries to sidestep patents on the drug -- as Brazil first did for AIDS medications -- and make their own generic versions.
But Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche, which acquired rights to the drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City in 1996, said Wednesday it had no intention of letting others make it.
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Web posted at: 10/16/2005 6:33:43
Source ::: AFP
LONDON: Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer Cipla plans to produce a generic version of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu to counter a feared bird flu pandemic, the Financial Times reported yesterday quoting a company official. “The whole world needs it and there is a tremendous shortage,” Cipla’s joint managing director Amar Lulla told the paper, brushing off the potential threat of legal action from Tamiflu’s maker Roche.
"Despite our repeated communication of concerns over the last several years, Roche has not adequately demonstrated the requisite commitment to Tamiflu since its launch in the United States nearly six years ago, nor has it allocated the necessary resources to realize the potential of the product as a treatment and preventive for influenza," said John C. Martin, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gilead Sciences. "Gilead is taking this action in the interest of our shareholders and, importantly, because it is essential for public health that healthcare professionals and consumers have improved access to information about Tamiflu, as well as to the product itself."
Gilead's notice of termination describes material breaches of obligations by Roche under the 1996 Agreement in the following areas: (1) Roche's failure to use best efforts to commercialize Tamiflu by adequately and sustainably promoting and marketing the product in all significant markets, including the failure to launch in a number of markets where the product has been approved; (2) Roche's failure to use best efforts to commercialize Tamiflu as evidenced by past problems with the manufacturing process that led to shortages in product supply; and (3) Roche's failure to properly calculate and pay the royalties fairly owed to Gilead.
Gilead Delivers Termination Notice to Roche for Tamiflu Development and Licensing Agreement