Maker to open plant in U.S.

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Roche AG says it will build a U.S. plant to make more of its anti-bird flu drug Tamiflu, but that promise failed to tamp growing international pressure on the Swiss drug giant to ease its monopoly grip on the drug. European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday called bird flu a global threat after the discovery of new cases in Greece, Romania and Turkey in recent days, which led to bans on poultry from those countries. In announcing the new U.S. plant on Tuesday, Roche refused to say where it would be located, citing security concerns. Nor has it said when new Tamiflu capsules will be produced in the United States. Meanwhile, demand for Tamiflu is far outstripping Roche’s ability to make it. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Some 40 countries are scrambling to create Tamiflu stockpiles to treat millions if a pandemic occurs and there’s growing international pressure to ignore Roche’s patent rights and manufacturer inexpensive generic versions. Thailand has announced its intentions to do just that and India-based Cipla Ltd. said it will be ready to ship generics next year, though it said Tuesday it will seek a license from Roche. “We are prepared to discuss all available options, including granting sub-licenses, with any government or private company who approach us to manufacture Tamiflu or collaborate with us in its manufacturing,” said William M. Burns, chief executive of Roche’s pharmaceuticals division. The World Health Organization recommends governments keep enough anti-viral drugs and regular human flu vaccines to inoculate at least 25 percent of their populations. The demand for Tamiflu is expected to continue its dramatic rise after the European Union called on all its members Tuesday to stockpile Tamiflu. “It’s a very complicated drug to make,” said Kim Elliott, deputy director of Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Trust for America’s Health. Elliott said it will take about a year for Roche to deliver U.S.-manufactured Tamiflu. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *