Roche has spoken out against “erroneous speculation” that resistance to its antiviral flu drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is on the increase.

David Reddy, Roche's influenza pandemic taskforce leader said that the company felt the need to respond to the aforementioned speculation that there has been a rise in the number of cases of resisitance seen in patients infected with H5N1 avian flu .

In fact, he noted that “this is an area that Roche and independent groups have been closely monitoring and there is no scientific evidence to suggest this is happening.”

Mr Reddy went on to say that “governments can be confident that Tamiflu remains a critical drug, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, for stockpiling to prepare for an influenza pandemic and for physicians and patients to treat and prevent flu when it hits.”

Last week a report from the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK said the H5N1 avian virus might develop resistance to Tamiflu and, to overcome any potential problems, recommended that the UK government should also stockpile GlaxoSmithKline's antiviral Relenza.(zanamivir).