A new project to manage the potential shortage of bird flu vaccine (Tamiflu) in Japan, the World's biggest user of the anti-flu preparation, would soon be initiated by Chugai Pharmaceutical Company, a subsidiary of Roche Ltd. Request by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan is said to have sparked the initiative.
The domestic production of the bird flu vaccine is hoped to being in the next two years. The Swiss based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd holds excusive rights to the bird flu vaccine production. The vaccine is even said to active against the latest versions of the avian influenza virus.
The company would initially produce syrup type preparation of Tamiflu, meant for children. Presently, the drug company is involved in packaging and sales of the anti-bird flu drug following production at the Swiss unit. Prior to this, the key ingredients of the drug are approved by Germany. Domestic production of drug is hoped to reduce the associated cost by a significant margin.
After a careful analysis of the profitability, the company would further decide regarding manufacture of the bird flu drug in a capsule form. There is a fear that rapid spread of a bird flu epidemic could lead to a shortage of bird flu vaccine supply. In order to increase preparedness against bird flu during the current bird flu season, the company has already acquired sufficient supplies to treat more than 12 million people.