This is about regular flu, not avian flu. This is extremely important, as I’ll explain after the excerpt. Flu Vaccine Maker Lowers Supply Expectations Again,
The Chiron Corporation said Monday that it would supply less flu vaccine than it had expected this year, increasing the chances that supplies would be tight this winter.
[. . .] Last year Chiron had expected to provide about 50 million flu shots, half the nation’s anticipated supply. But it ended up supplying no shots because British regulators shut down the company’s factory in Liverpool, England, citing sanitary problems.
[. . .] Mr. Pien said the company would not be able to produce as much as it expected because the installation of new equipment and procedures and worker training detracted from production.
As nations begin to stockpile the drug in anticipation of a flu pandemic, calls are mounting for countries to sidestep patents on the drug — as Brazil first did for AIDS medications — and make their own generic versions.
But Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche, which acquired rights to the drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City in 1996, said Wednesday it had no intention of letting others make it.
“Roche … fully intends to remain the sole manufacturer of Tamiflu,” said company spokesman Terry Hurley.
Bird flu is on the horizon, and could kill as many as 1/4 of all people. We don’t have the means in place to make enough regular flu vaccine, and the company that owns the patent on the flu drug won’t allow licensing so the world can make more. They see the potential for huge profits, selling at premium prices to the richest few.
At what point do we break out of “market” thinking and just start building vaccine and Tamiflu production facilities? If you have children you love and want to protect you need to be asking yourself this question now. Not after bird flu starts to spread and kill. Now.