Supplementary evidence by Roche Products
Ltd relating to comments by Dr Klaus Stohr
Roche Products Ltd submitted written evidence
to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee
Inquiry on Pandemic Influenza on 26 September 2005. Roche later
submitted oral evidence to the Select Committee on 25 October
Roche has since been asked to provide additional
information, further to a public session of the Select Committee
at which oral evidence was given by Klaus Stohr, Head of the WHO
Global Influenza Programme, relating to the global use of antivirals
to slow a pandemic at its source. The requisite information relates
directly to the Roche donation of 3 million treatment packs of
Tamiflu to the WHO `Rapid Response Stockpile' and has been requested
- when will the 3 million treatment courses
of Tamiflu donated by Roche be made available to the WHO?
- where the 3 million treatment courses
of Tamiflu donated to the WHO by Roche will be stored;
- how the 3 million treatment courses of
Tamiflu will be released and distributed in the event of an pandemic
- the part the WHO Rapid Response Stockpile
has to play in curtailing an initial outbreak of potentially pandemic
When will the 3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu
donated by Roche be made available to the WHO?
There are ten capsules in every treatment course
The first 10 million capsules will be available
within Roche in bulk form in December, 2005 and then final packs
will be available for shipment during February 2006. The remaining
20 million capsules will be available in bulk form during March
2006 and in packaged form during April/May 2006.
This donation has not affected any government
pandemic orders that are in the ordering system with. When discussions
with the WHO were initiated at the beginning of 2005 an order
was placed into the pandemic ordering system which has resulted
in the timelines of December 2005 and March 2006.
Where will the 3 million treatment courses of
Tamiflu donated to the WHO by Roche be stored?
The Rapid Response Stockpile" will
be stored by Roche or by a designated storage company until such
time as WHO requests Roche to ship the material.
How will the 3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu
be released and distributed in the event of an pandemic outbreak?
In the event of a pandemic Roche will ship the
Rapid Response Stockpile" to a major international
airport nearest to the site of outbreak of the infection. The
ownership of the drugs will then immediately transfer to WHO,
who will take responsibility for transportation, distribution
and local storage.
Apart from the costs associated with local distribution,
this will cost WHO nothing, as this is a donation by Roche to
help contain an emerging outbreak of a pandemic strain of influenza
and to slow or prevent its national and international spread.
The part the WHO Rapid Response Stockpile has
to play in curtailing an initial outbreak of potentially pandemic
The purpose of the Rapid Response Stockpile"
is to contain an emerging outbreak of a pandemic strain of influenza
at the epicenter and to slow or prevent its national and international
spread. The Rapid Response Stockpile" is not
a replacement for national pandemic preparedness plans and governments
should follow the WHO guidance and ensure that local pandemic
plans are in place and stockpiles of antivirals are assembled
in good time.
Recently 11 Asian countries (Bhutan, Brunei,
Burma, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines,
Thailand and Vietnam) have agreed to establish a shared stockpile
(5 per cent of their supplies) of Tamiflu in preparation for an
avian influenza pandemic and to ensure supplies of Tamiflu can
immediately be deployed to areas affected by an outbreak of avian
The WHO Rapid Response Stockpile is not intended
to be used for purposes other than addressing a novel and potentially
pandemic strain of influenza.
7 November 2005