Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, November 10, 2005

More Tamiflu

This sounds good:
"There's a shortage right now," said William M. Burns, head of Roche's pharmaceutical division. But he quickly added that the company plans to raise annual production capacity to 300 million courses of treatment by this time next year: a drastic increase from 55 million this year and more than 10 times the output capacity in 2003.
Hopefully this will be fast enough.

Apparently, the big holdup is something called shikimic acid:

Analysts also say that ramping up production of shikimic acid, a basic material in the making of Tamiflu, presents a potential bottleneck. Roche relies on a relatively rare Chinese spice, star anise, to make around two-thirds of the acid. The spice, grown in the mountains of southern China, is in increasingly short supply. . . .

Roche produces a third of the acid by fermenting E. coli bacteria. Jan Van Koeveringe, head of global technical operations at Roche, said the company hoped to reverse that proportion, but gave no timeline.


At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure won't be taking it.

The rush to shove unproven drugs onto the market is a bigger hazard at this point that the bird flu.


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