Taiwan has come out saying it could produce up to a million doses of anti-influenza drug Tamiflu within months to counter a possible bird flu pandemic if it obtains a license from the drug’s manufacturers. Roche has said it is willing to share production with governments or other companies as fears of a pandemic rise after bird flu, which has killed more than 60 people in Asia, was discovered in Romania, Turkey and Greece.

Taiwan officials claim to have successfully produced the drug in the lab. Roche Holding AG confirmed yesterday it is examining a request from Taiwan’s Department Of Health (DOH) to discuss the manufacturing of Tamiflu by Taiwanese companies.

Also, the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) in South Korea announced that it is looking into the legality of producing a generic version of the patented antiviral drug Tamiflu to protect against an outbreak of the deadly bird flu.

[Note: The original report, from the Korean Overseas Information Service (KOIS), incorrectly calls the drug a vaccine. One site referred to overriding trademark regulations.]

The KFDA said it is hoping to produce a generic version of the drug Tamiflu that would not require approval from its patent holder, Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche , which has exclusive rights to produce the drug. Under international patent laws, the KFDA believes it is possible to make its own version of Tamiflu without prior consent from Roche. That is, there is an exception in which prior consent from a patent holder is not required when the patent is needed to prevent an extreme crisis.

This follows the earlier report that the Indian drug company Cipla Ltd., plans to bring a generic version of Tamiflu into the market early next year.

Meanwhile, Roche announced that it’s willing to negotiate to permit drug makers in poorer countries to produce a generic version of Roche’s Tamiflu, although some Asian governments say that if Roche demands too high a licensing fee, they’ll disregard the patent on Tamiflu.

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