Tamiflu sales soar 203 pct amid pandemic

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Roche sells CHF 1 billion of anti-swine flu drug Tamiflu in the first half of 2009.

Zurich -- Sales of anti-flu drug Tamiflu soared 203 percent in the first six months of 2009, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said Thursday, contributing to a 9 percent growth in overall sales for the group.

Amid the swine flu pandemic, sales of the drug reached CHF 1 billion (USD 938 million, EUR 659 million) in the first half of 2009.

Sales to governments and corporations reached CHF 653 million during the period, said Roche.

"Additional government stockpiling orders and increased demand in the retail pharmacy market contributed to the particularly strong sales recorded in the second quarter," it added.

Roche said it would be increasing its production capacity of Tamiflu -- one of two drugs recommended by the World Health Organisation to treat the A(H1N1) virus -- to 400 million packs annually by 2010.

In its first half earnings statement, the group also said that overall sales reached CHF 24 billion, up 9 percent.

Net profit was however down 29 percent to CHF 4.1 billion due to charges related to the acquisition of Genentech.

AFP / Expatica

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