Hoffmann-La Roche announced
on 14 December 2000, that the US Food and Drug Administration granted marketing approval for a pediatric treatment indication for its influenza antiviral Tamiflu(TM) (oseltamivir phosphate).
Tamiflu, the number
one prescribed medicine for treating the influenza in adults, will now be
available in a liquid suspension for the treatment of acute illness due to
influenza for children 1 year and older. The pediatric indication will be
available by mid-January 2001 and may also be used to treat adults who cannot
swallow a capsule.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), co-developed with Gilead Sciences of
Foster City, California, is a systemic treatment for all common strains of
influenza (types A & B) and is available in a convenient pill form. Tamiflu
was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 1999 for the
treatment of uncomplicated influenza in adults and is now the market leader in
antiviral influenza treatment.
Each year, up to 40 million Americans develop the flu, an average of about
300,000 are hospitalized, and 20,000 to 40,000 people die from influenza and
its complications. The influenza virus is highly contagious and is
transmitted when droplets are shed by an infected person during sneezing or
coughing. A person becomes infected by breathing in these droplets. The
virus then settles into the entire respiratory system, and begins replicating
24 hours before symptoms are discovered. An infected person can pass on the
disease for four to five days and influenza may remain in a local area for up
to six weeks.