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The European Commission is expected to approve the extension of Tamiflu’s five-year shelf life by two years, it has been revealed.
The move will apply to all newly manufactured Tamiflu capsules and follows recommendations from the European Medicines Agency.
In the event of a pandemic being declared by the World Health Organisation, the London-based watchdog has also recommended that the five-year expiry date of existing Tamiflu capsules be ignored.
A statement from the agency said: “In view of the recent outbreak of the novel influenza A/H1N1 virus, the European Medicines Agency has also reviewed ways to use Tamiflu capsules in case of a shortage.
“The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended that Tamiflu capsules that are already on the market may be used for up to two more years after their current five-year expiry date during a declared pandemic.
“Patients who have Tamiflu capsules that have recently expired should not dispose of them because they might be needed during a novel influenza A/H1N1 pandemic.”
The advice was announced after a study of how to prevent shortages of antiviral medicines key in managing flu pandemics – such as Tamiflu, according to the statement.
Copyright Press Association 2009