Roche Launches Novel Program to Ease Tamiflu Access to Developing Economies

Tamiflu Reserves Program designed as a pandemic insurance policy for the world’s developing economies

BASEL, Switzerland, 1 July 2009-- Roche today announced the initiation of the Tamiflu Reserves Program (TRP) for developing economies. The program, which is effective immediately, will serve to ensure that Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is available to many governments and patients in developing nations for use when the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an influenza pandemic*, or for the management of a novel influenza strain defined by WHO that has significant and current pandemic potential.

Under the TRP program, Roche will produce and store Tamiflu pandemic stockpiles for specified developing countries at a significantly reduced price with the cost spread over a number of years. Roche will then ship the stockpile to the governments of countries concerned when an influenza pandemic has been announced, or in the event of a public health emergency, upon request from the governments concerned. The countries can exercise their option to purchase the product at any time.

“This new program is a further complement to the initiatives taken by Roche to address access to Tamiflu”, said William M. Burns, Roche Pharma CEO. “While we are offering this program to the WHO for Tamiflu, this program is not proprietary to Roche which gives the WHO the opportunity to apply its fundamentals to other antivirals, vaccines, as well as medical supplies”.

The full price per pack of 10 Tamiflu capsules, excluding any local duties, taxes or tariffs, is:

  • 5 to 6 Euros per 75 mg pack,
  • 3 to 3.65 Euros per 45 mg pack, and
  • 2 to 2.55 Euros per 30 mg pack.

Tamiflu would be stored until time of shipment by Roche under controlled conditions thus assuring quality and security. The exact price, within the ranges provided above, will be dependent upon the period of storage requested by the government or UN organisation concerned.

“Currently only six of the world’s countries listed as low income have a stockpile of Tamiflu which equates to 0.02% coverage for low income economies,” said David Reddy, Global Pandemic Preparedness Task Force leader. “This program enables these countries to reserve Tamiflu for pandemic preparedness for their citizens at a significantly reduced price with the cost of purchase spread over the shelf life of the product thus trying to offer access with affordability. The program also addresses issues of controlled storage and security for developing nations where this may otherwise be an issue”.

The countries who would qualify for this program would be those countries who are members of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) minus India**/***. Roche is in discussions with agencies to establish how orders would be coordinated by a UN partner agency such as the WHO or UNICEF and potential sources of funding would be the World Bank, donor agencies, foundations and the countries themselves.

In addition to the offering of the TRP, Roche has taken several steps to address access to Tamiflu worldwide including:

  • Replenishment of the WHO donation of 5.65 million treatments of Tamiflu
  • Tiered pricing for Tamiflu distinguishing between developed and developing countries
  • The issuing of sub licenses for the manufacturing of oseltamivir to Hetero in India, Shanghai Pharma and HEC in China as well as a technology transfer to Aspen Pharmaceuticals in South Africa
  • A company policy that we do not file or enforce patents for Tamiflu in the Least Developed Countries enabling these countries to take local action to source anti-virals.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients.

In 2008, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested almost 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D.

The Group posted sales of 45.6 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com.

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.

Note to editors
* The H1N1 swine-flu virus causing the 2009 pandemic is a new virus, antigenically very different from the seasonal A[H1N1] virus.
** the latter is not included in the programme as a sub-licence for the production of generic oseltamivir was granted to the Indian company Hetero by Roche in 2005
*** Countries eligible for the TRP are: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Dem Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, DPR Korea , Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Posted: July 2009


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