Media Release

Basel, 12 May 2009

Roche provides additional donation of 5.65 million packs of Tamiflu to World Health Organization

110 million Tamiflu treatment courses to be produced over next 5 months with increase to 36 million treatments per month by year-end if required

Roche today announced a new donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) of 5.65 million courses of treatment of the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir). This donation includes:

  • Replenishment of the Regional Stockpile of 2 million treatment courses of Tamiflu to be held by the WHO and used to address regional outbreaks,
  • Replenishment of the Rapid Response Stockpile of 3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu to be held by Roche and deployed under the direction of the WHO,
  • Establishment of a new pediatric stockpile of 650,000 treatment courses of Tamiflu small (30mg and 45mg) capsules.

“The recent outbreak of influenza A (H1N1) shows that such a virus can be totally unexpected and spread rapidly around the globe,” said William M. Burns, CEO Pharmaceuticals Division of Roche. “This emphasizes the urgency of restoring WHO and Roche Rapid Response Stockpiles, alongside national government stockpiles, to prepare for subsequent waves with this virus or for addressing newly emerging influenza strains.”

In addition, Roche announced that its production of Tamiflu can be up to 110 million courses of treatment over the next five months. After this time the production of Tamiflu will increase towards a maximum production output of 36 million treatment courses per month by year end if required. This equates to a maximum annual capacity of 400 million treatment courses (4 billion capsules) per year.

“Roche has been rapidly increasing production of Tamiflu at multiple points in the supply chain,” stated Dr. David Reddy, Head of Roche’s Global Pandemic Preparedness Task Force. “Actual production output is dependent upon continued demand from governments for pandemic stockpiles of Tamiflu.”

Following declaration of pandemic alert phase 5 the WHO announced that “the international community should treat this as a window of opportunity to ramp up preparedness and response.”

In view of the uncertain impact of the influenza A (H1N1) virus on the current Southern Hemisphere influenza season, and the subsequent Northern Hemisphere winter season, it will be important for all stakeholders to closely monitor events and continue pandemic preparedness.

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.

Notes to Editors
*H1N1 swine-flu virus causing outbreak is a new virus, antigenically very different from the seasonal A [H1N1] virus