Due to the current avian flu scare, it is very interesting to note that there may be more politics involved in this than there is virus.

Specifically, the pharmaceutical company Roche is NOT the patent holder for the active ingredient in Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate). Roche however is the sole licensee of this patent.

The patent for oseltamivar is held by a Foster City, CA company called Gilead Sciences Inc. Gilead had been quiet about this association for good reason, but had also been critical of Roche for their marketing (or lack thereof) of Tamiflu. The exclusive license does not allow another company to produce this drug, and therefore Gilead's profits are at the mercy of Roche's ability to manufacture and push this drug.

Oseltamivar has NOT been approved by the FDA to fight avian flu. It is possible that at best it is minimally effective against it, and at worst, it could cause more lethal mutations.

What is REALLY interesting is the motivations that our government has for spending billions of dollars stockpiling this medicine. . .

In 1997, Donald Rumsfeld was named chairman of the board of directors for Gilead Sciences Inc. Yes, this is the same Don that currently controls the Pentagon as Secretary of Defense for the United States. He held his position at Gilead until he was appointed by Bush and still remains one of their major stock holders. Gilead, and therefore Rumsfeld, have much to gain from pressuring the government to allow others to produce this drug. They are also first in line to benefit from US contracts to purchase it.

This association is rarely mentioned by the media, and is played down by the White House, but it is obvious that there is something more sinister than a virus going on here:

Published: October 28, 2005
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has recused himself from government decisions concerning medications to prevent or treat avian flu, rather than sell his stock holdings in the company that patented the antiviral agent Tamiflu, according to a Pentagon memorandum issued Thursday.