Roche and Tamiflu: Doing Business in the Shadow of Pandemic Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Bird flu outside Asia, particularly in Africa and Europe, topped the headlines in 2006. Migration of wild birds brought the virus to Europe, where for the first time it has spread to livestock, bringing it closer to the Western world. Globalization and the high today's interconnected world, the consequences of a possible avian influenza pandemic is expected to be much more serious than the Spanish flu, which killed 50-100 million people between 1918 and 1921. A vaccine for the virus in birds is not currently available. As of July 2006, 232 cases of human infection have been documented, mainly through direct contact with poultry. Of these, 134 people have died. The best medicine for the treatment of avian flu was Roche antiviral drug Tamiflu. However, Tamiflu has not been widely available, current orders state agencies will not be fulfilled until the end of 2008. Well aware that the current bird flu could become a global pandemic comparable to the Spanish Flu, CEO Franz Humer Roche had to decide how to respond to Roche. While the pharmaceutical industry has continued his research in the field of vaccines and medicines, Tamiflu can play an important role in protecting the health of workers and helps to keep the virus or at least slow its spread. Due to patent protection and the complex process of production with limited raw materials, Roche was the only manufacturer of the drug. Partly in response to political pressure from the United States, in November 2005, Roche has allowed Gilead to produce Tamiflu as well. However, it will take at least until the end of 2007, Roche and Gilead to meet the demands of governments around the world. This question has been difficult for Roche: What are the risks, what were the options? If a pandemic occurs before sufficient supplies of Tamiflu was created, Roche will be responsible? What measures, if any, must be taken with respect to Roche patent protection and licensing of the shadow of a potential pandemic? "Hide
by Timothy Feddersen, Johan Gottschalk, Lars Peters Source: Kellogg School Management 22 pages. Publication Date: January 1, 2007. Prod. #: KEL349-PDF-ENG

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