Roche has given its permission for local manufacturers in South Korea to produce its antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir), according to the Korean Food and Drug Administration.

The KFDA announced on November 2 that it had received an official letter from Roche which said that the company would sub-license Tamiflu production to any Korean firm which was able to produce the drug in sufficient quantities, according to a report in the Korea Times. Roche has already entered into negotiations with Chinese company Shanghai Pharmaceuticals for outsourcing Tamiflu production [[02/11/05d]].

The decision regarding which local firms would receive a sub-license would be made by Roche and the companies applying for it, said agency officials, adding that an 11 domestic drugmakers currently have tendered offers to produce the drug, including City Bio, Hanmi Pharmaceutical and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical.

The Korean government has also announced that it wants to lay down a stockpile of 1 million doses of Tamiflu by next year to prepare for a possible flu pandemic.