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GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was up to national regulatory authorities to decide whether to extend the shelf life of the flu drug Tamiflu by two years, as recommended by Swiss drug maker Roche.
The United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and the European Union's drug watchdog have extended Tamiflu's shelf life to 7 years from 5 after company data showed the active ingredient's longer stability, a Roche spokeswoman said.
"It is WHO's view that shelf-life extensions are a matter for national regulatory authorities," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a statement sent to journalists.
The WHO says most people infected with H1N1 have mild symptoms and Tamiflu should be given only to flu sufferers at high risk including pregnant women or those with complications such as pneumonia.