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Developing countries may buy Tamiflu cheaper

Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche has launched a programme to ease access to its antiviral drug Tamiflu for developing countries.

The company said the programme should ensure that Tamiflu is available to them if the World Health Organization declares an influenza pandemic, or for the management of a novel influenza strain defined by the WHO that has significant pandemic potential.

In a statement, the Basel-based company said on Wednesday it would 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 would 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.

The Geneva-based WHO has declared a global pandemic for the swine flu virus A (H1N1), which has so far been treatable with Tamiflu.

Roche describes it as “very different” from the seasonal influenza virus.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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