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The World Health Organization and Unitaid called on Roche (RHHBY) to ensure that existing doses of its Actemra medicine, which is being used to treat Covid-19 patients, are equally available to low and middle-income countries in the face of a global shortage.

In a joint statement, the global health agencies praised the drug maker for addressing the shortage by working with contract manufacturers and distributors to manage production and supplies. But the agencies want the company to transfer technology, as well as share know-how and data, to increase the number of qualified manufacturers. The WHO is soliciting interest from other companies.


This is the second time in as many months that Roche has been urged to widen access Actemra in low-income countries. Shortly after the WHO last month recommended the drug be used to treat severely or critically ill Covid-19 patients, Doctors Without Borders pushed the drug maker to “end its monopoly” on by lowering its price and sharing its technology in order to quickly widen access.

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