A short production interruption at a drug manufacturing plant doesn't generally elicit a lot of publicity--unless it involves a drug treatment for children during the flu season. And so the FDA let it be known Wednesday that there may be spot shortages of Tamiflu liquid because of manufacturing issues at a Genentech plant.
The strain of bird flu has shown resistance to Roche's antiviral Tamiflu for the first time.
The effects of a nasty flu season may wear off quickly, but two newly launched breast cancer drugs should help to keep the oncology increases coming.
China will lean on the Roche drug Tamiflu to treat those infected with a new strain of bird flu that has so far sickened 16, killing 6.
Flu has always presented a moving target for developers, with rapid evolution keeping viruses one step ahead of vaccines. In pandemic flu, mutations could turn a relatively benign virus into one that is more virulent, capable of spreading from human to human or resistant to drugs.
As one of the worst flu seasons in a decade sweeps the United States, some flu vaccine and drug manufacturers find themselves in short supply of their products. Still, the high demand offers a welcome financial boost.
A tough year for the flu has run drugmakers short on vaccine and treatment. Still, with demand for flu vaccine and Tamiflu running rampant, it will mean a boost to sales for those companies that make them.
Caught unprepared by a wave of illness, Canada is getting into its stash of Tamiflu to handle demand there because maker Roche is uncertain that its manufacturing and supply chain can keep up with demand.
Roche has spent the past few months getting raked over the coals by critics who say the company has not offered full and complete access to Tamiflu data. So when the FDA extended the approval of the flu drug, the news came as a much-needed boost.
Roche is making a "fair and transparent" offer to critics at the Cochrane Collaboration: Let's set up an advisory board to review all the data on Tamiflu.