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Press Statement: Roche Affirms That Tamiflu(R) is in Ample Supply Nationwide
Date:2/19/2008

NUTLEY, N.J., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to recent media reports, Roche would like to reaffirm that there is ample supply of Tamiflu(R) (oseltamivir phosphate) antiviral medication for the 2007-2008 flu season, and that physicians and patients can feel confident the drug is on hand if flu strikes.

Some news reports have indicated "shortages" of the product at retail, but Roche has special measures in place to ensure that Tamiflu is readily available. If a pharmacy runs low due to high demand during peak flu season, and they can't get product from their servicing wholesaler(s), they can call 800-526-0625 and have Tamiflu delivered within 24 hours.

Due to widespread flu activity throughout the U.S., there has been an increase in the number of prescriptions being written for Tamiflu during the past few weeks. For the week ending February 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited 49 states reporting either widespread or regional flu activity.

The CDC web site suggests a "Take 3" approach against flu:

1. Take time to get a vaccine.

2. Take everyday actions to stop germs.

3. Take antiviral drugs if your doctor says you need them.

The CDC recommends that antiviral medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza(R)) can be used for the treatment and prevention of flu in the U.S. this season.

Tamiflu is a prescription antiviral medication that attacks the flu virus at its source, so patients can get better faster. Tamiflu is available as a capsule or liquid suspension formula, both of which are in sufficient supply. For optimal effectiveness, Tamiflu must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, which include sore throat, extreme fatigue and sudden high fever. If patients experience these symptoms, they should contact a physician for accurate diagnosis and treatment, even if they have been vaccinated.

Tamiflu is Effective Against Seasonal Flu

Tamiflu is designed to be effective against all A and B strains of influenza. The CDC reported Friday that there are three primary viral types circulating in the U.S. this year -- two A strains (H1N1 and H3N2) and numerous B strains. The A strain H3N2 is the predominant virus for the season overall, and is typically associated with more severe illness.

The vaccine is not optimally matched to the H3N2 or the B viruses, according to the CDC report. The vaccine does appear to be well-matched against the H1N1. During this season, there has been a small increase observed in the number of H1N1 viruses resistant to Tamiflu, but no resistance has been identified among the H3N2 and B viruses. Tamiflu is not a substitute for an annual flu shot.

For more details and full prescribing information, please visit http://www.tamiflu.com.


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SOURCE Roche
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