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Tamiflu, Relenza and the avian flu vaccine

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Roche recently met with Senator Schumer and they are now finalizing meetings for as soon as next week to review outsourcing possibilities with four generic drug manufacturers that could help increase production of the antiviral Tamiflu. Tamiflu is not a cure but so far has been the most effective weapon against avian flu.

GlaxoSmithKline is prepared to start testing a vaccine next year though it is likely two years away from availability to the market. Meanwhile Glaxo is increasing production of Relenza, their antiviral drug and I have heard that Glaxo is also discussing outsourcing production.

The administration and the GOP love to talk about "market forces" so considering the fact that the avian flu has been widely discussed for at least the last five years, are they really taking full advantage of "market forces" with their last minute buying spree, which only provides medicine for a couple percent of the US population? Who is profiting here and why? Sure, the US government is funding vaccine projects today but this is not a quick-fix solution and it will take time. It's anyone's guess just how much time we have to solve this problem.

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