segunda-feira, maio 14, 2007

Tamiflu ou o marketing do medo

FT 07.05.07

ever in the field of human pharmaceuticals has so much been spent by so many on a disease that affects so few.

When Roche of Switzerland launched the antiviral drug Tamiflu to treat influenza in 1999, the science was ground-breaking but the product was almost killed at birth by low demand.

An unusually low incidence of influenza worldwide was matched by widespread health payers’ reluctance to reimburse for a costly medicine with limited effect to treat an illness perceived as no great threat.

Tamiflu has since become a “blockbuster”. The drug is now one of Roche’s best-sellers, with fast-increasing sales that exceeded SFr2.6bn ($2.1bn£1.1bn) in 2006 and are likely to generate a further SFr2bn this year.

The story illustrates the secrets of drug industry marketing, taken to extremes by preparations for a potentially dangerous – but so far “virtual” – pandemic flu strain.

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