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Home >> World
UPDATED: 07:09, November 27, 2005
Indonesia prepares to produce anti-bird flu drug Tamiflu
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Indonesia was preparing to produce Tamiflu, the anti-viral medicine recommended for the treatment of avian influenza, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said in Jakarta on Saturday.

"The Ministry of Health has obtained special rights from its maker, Roche, to undertake its production," official news agency Antara quoted her as saying.

The party most likely to be appointed as the producer of the drug would be a state pharmaceutical company, she said, adding that she had yet to decide which state company would be assigned to produce the medicine.

"But for sure, the state pharmaceutical company to be appointed could be Kimia Farma or Indofarma," she said.

On the quantity of Tamiflu to be produced, she said it would depend on existing need.

"How much Tamiflu will be made will be adjusted to prevailing need or a minimum of 10 percent of the country's total population of 220 million," she said, adding that the government was now preparing things for the project.

"We will need three to five months to prepare production," she added.

She also said that the government was now still having a sufficient supply of Tamiflu, some 800 tablets, donated by countries like Australia, Japan and Singapore.

She said the government had also had talks with countries supplying raw materials for Tamiflu, including China, India and South Korea, and was waiting for confirmation from these countries on their ability to meet Indonesia's need.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that seven out of 12 Indonesian citizens infected with bird flu died since July. Bird flu has been found in 23 out of the country's over 30 provinces.

In Southeast Asia, it has claimed the lives of more than 60 out of 120-strong infected persons since its outbreak in 2003.

Source: Xinhua

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