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,(Donald Rumsfeld served as Chairman of Gilead Sciences,till 2001
said Wednesday it had no intention of letting others make it.
"Roche ... fully intends to remain the sole manufacturer of Tamiflu,'' said company spokesman Terry Hurley.
Although Roche has increased production of Tamiflu eightfold in the past two years, it will take $16 billion and 10 years to make enough of the drug
for 20 percent of the world's population. The U.S. stockpile goal for this year is 4.3 million 10-pill treatments, enough to cover less than 2
of the population.
What kind of goal is that? And why so long?