BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX) expects 2007 sales of its Tamiflu drug to governments and other organizations building stockpiles in the event of a pandemic to be lower this year than last.
The Swiss drugmaker on Wednesday predicted pandemic sales of 0.8 billion to 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($640-960 million) for the influenza medicine, down from 1.8 billion in 2006, according to an investor presentation on the company’s web site.
Pandemic sales accounted for 70 percent of all Tamiflu revenues last year.
So, sales were not that good for ROCHE two years ago and bird flu didn’t help that time. They needed a virus that is treatable with their drug, in order to sell out…
on the act, too - for example, Israel is mandating it be called "Mexico Flu" instead of "swine flu" because the latter is not kosher. Seriously. Meanwhile, Indonesia is playing the "Western oppression" card:
Falling short of elaboration, Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said on Tuesday that the deadly swine flu virus could have been genetically engineered. She had earlier accused Western governments of making and spreading viruses in developing countries to boost pharmaceutical companies' profits.
Since 2006, Indonesia has refused to share all of its bird flu virus samples with WHO researchers, citing fears that the system is being abused by rich countries to produce profitable vaccines, which impoverished nations have to buy.
The fact that the new virus causing an avian-human-swine flu first occurred in Mexico -- where pigs and birds are rarely raised together -- has also raised suspicion that the rare combination of more than two different flu viruses could have been genetically-engineered as a form of bio-weaponry. They do have a point beneath the crazy, though - rich Western nations should indeed partially subsidize the cost of vaccines to poorer ones. There was a plan back in 2006 by the G-8 countries to try and address the problem but that fell through; hopefully this is something that can be revisited.
Worth reiterating - related and highly recommended: interview this morning of Dr. Dennis Maki, senior epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin, by Joy Cardin on WPR. Also here's the official page at the CDC for latest info on swine flu outbreaks. Finally, see Rabbi Brad's comment on the kosherification of the flu in Israel.