The Health Ministry on Sunday breathed a sigh of relief after Tel Aviv's District Court determined that the government is permitted to purchase H1N1 flu medication from producers even if they are not registered in Israel. The verdict will enable the ministry to purchase Indian-made Tamiflu.
The court rejected a petition by the Swiss drug company Roche, a producer of Tamiflu, whose representatives had claimed that it would be illegal to allow companies not registered in Israel to bid for the rights to provide the State with flu medication, a bid worth NIS 75 million ($18.4 million).
The judge, Dr. Oded Mudrick, determined that the State was permitted to purchase Tamiflu from any number of global companies. "The State cannot hang the public's health on one sole medical corporation, no matter how big and important it is," he wrote.
Regarding the fear of treating the public with medication produced by an unregistered company the court ruled that the Health Ministry must perform tests to guarantee that the drugs are safe before their distribution.
Ministry officials appeared satisfied with the verdict, and pharmacists employed by the State have been sent to India to in order to explore the option of purchasing Tamiflu there.
The Health Ministry plans to increase medical stockpiling to cover 30% of the public, despite the fact that the World Health Organization has recommended that states were obligated to cover only 25% of their citizens.