Video of Rep. Tom Allen's opening statement.
In this statement he says that we lack an adequate stockpile of Tamiflu because we have to rely on the limited production capacity of one patent-holding company. He acknowledges Leavitt's previous statements that issuing compulsory licenses would undermine incentives for further R&D.
Foriegn companies are going to produce generic Tamiflu, but the U.S. will not have access to these medicines because, under the WTO's August 30 Decision on the Doha Declaration, the U.S. will be ineligible to import these medicines.
Video of Exchange Between Rep. Allen and Secretary Leavitt During Q&A.
This video clip begins with Leavitt saying that Roche has promised not to let intellectual property be a barrier to generic production - Roche is willing to work with other companies that are able and prepared to produce the drug. He stresses that the drug is very difficult to produce, involving complicated steps, sometime dangerous - explosions are required in some of them. The Secretary concludes "It is not likely… that we will see any other manufacturers of Tamiflu certainly in a year and more likely two years. And that would be true in this country or any other country."
Allen responds that today the U.S. has insufficient manufacturing capacity for antiflu drugs, and Leavitt agrees. Allen tells Leavitt that on August 30, 2003 the WTO agreed on a set of rules under which countries with insufficient manufacturing capacity could import needed pharmaceuticals produced under compulsory license, but we opted out and persuaded other countries to opt out as well. The question from Allen: was this a wise decision? Leavitt answered that in times of a pandemic each country will only have access to what it can produce domestically, because each country will want to keep and use whatever it has inside its borders.
Finally, Allen asks Leavitt if he would be prepared to issue a compulsory license if Roche failed to adequately expand production? Leavitt said that he did not think this would be needed, but he thinks its important for Americans to know that the federal government will do everything necessary to protect people in this country.
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