In view, of the ever-increasing threat about bird flu worldwide, there has been a healthy competition among several pharmaceutical companies to manufacture the drug. Ranbaxy Laboratories has become the first Indian company to start shipments of generic version of bird flu drug, Tamiflu. The drug is believed to get shipped to a country where the patent held by the Swedish major Roche would be invalid.
We have sent small quantities of the avian flu drug to a government, where Roche has no patent on the drug', said Dr Brian Tempest, CEO of Ranbaxy and managing director of Ranbaxy. The company has already developed the chemistry to produce the drug and scaled it up to a certain level for sending supplies to another government.
The company is expecting a feedback from Roche regarding sub-licensing for supplying drug to other countries. The patent for the avian flu drug (Tamiflu) is being held by the Swedish manufacturer in most of the countries. Four main pharmaceutical companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mylan Laboratories, Barr Laboratories and Ranbaxy have been in talks with the drug company to manufacture a generic version of the patented drug.
The worldwide demand for the flu drug and concerns regarding the outbreak of an epidemic has prompted for relaxation for rules regarding the drug manufacture. Owing to the above situation, Roche has been subjected to extreme pressure from several Governments across the world.