Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rummy's Bird Flu Bonanza


Rummy Flu

Tamiflu was developed and patented in 1996 by a California biotech firm, Gilead Sciences Inc. Gilead is a NASDAQ-listed stock company which prefers to maintain a low profile in the current rush to Tamiflu. That might be because of who is tied to Gilead. In 1997, before he became Pentagon chief, Donald Rumsfeld was named chairman of the board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became defense secretary. Rumsfeld had been on the board of Gilead since 1988, according to a 1997 company press release.

Rumsfeld holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to his federal financial disclosures. In the past six months, the global rush to buy Tamiflu has sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47 - amounting to a windfall of at least $1 million for Rumsfeld. And now, with Gilead collecting royalties averaging 10% from Roche's sales of Tamiflu, he is poised to reap more gains for a flu panic his administration has done everything it can to promote.

Read the article at Asia Times Online.

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