January 31, 2006

Roche executive says US boosts Tamiflu drug order

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health officials have ordered 46 million treatment courses of Roche Holding AG's antiviral drug Tamiflu, up from an initial order of 15 million courses, a senior Roche executive told lawmakers on Tuesday.

George Abercrombie, president and chief executive officer of Roche's U.S. unit, told a Senate hearing that of the new total, federal officials would purchase 18 million courses, while U.S. states would buy the rest.

Abercrombie added that the company does not yet have a formal contract for the orders. "We are ready to begin fulfilling these orders as soon as we get a ... contract," he said.