EU approves Tamiflu for children
Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG has received approval from the European Union for Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) use to prevent influenza in children between the ages of one to 12 years, the firm said on Tuesday.
Tamiflu, which is also being stockpiled by governments to ward off a bird flu pandemic, is approved in Europe, Japan and the United States as a prescription treatment for seasonal flu.
The EU approval, which follows a similar regulatory nod from U.S. authorities in December, allows the drug to be used prophylactically in children, helping to prevent the spread of the disease, Roche said.
“This is particularly helpful in the family setting when one member of the family catches influenza—using Tamiflu for prevention will stop the spread of the disease to other family members,” Bill Burns, CEO of Roche’s pharmaceuticals division, said.
Roche said children are three times more likely to get sick with the flu—on average, one in 10 adults and one in three children are affected by influenza annually.
Tamiflu, a neuraminidase inhibitor, is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for stockpiling by governments seeking to protect their population in the event of a birdflu outbreak.
So-called pandemic sales of the drug are expected to have swelled Roche’s pharmaceuticals sales in 2005 by an additional one billion Swiss francs, helping contribute to a health rise in operating profits. The firm reports full-year figures on Wednesday.
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