Roche Receives Positive Recommendation in Europe for Tamiflu(R)

NUTLEY, N.J., Mar 21, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --

- Oral Antiviral Medication for the Treatment and Prevention of Influenza Slated for Approval in Europe -

Roche and Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) announced today that the European Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP), the scientific committee of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA), has recommended granting Tamiflu(R) (oseltamivir phosphate) Marketing Authorization in the European Union (EU) for the treatment of influenza in adults and children and the prevention of influenza in adolescents and adults. Tamiflu has been available in the United States since it was approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999, and has helped millions of people reduce the duration of the flu. Roche anticipates that Tamiflu will play an important role in the management of influenza in Europe.

"Access to new antivirals such as Tamiflu is important for physicians and patients. It means that the medical profession will have a new weapon to fight the influenza virus, which affects many people every year in Europe, knocking them flat and causing severe complications and death," commented Professor John Oxford, Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.

The CPMP opinion will serve as the basis for EU regulatory approval, which is typically issued within a few months following a positive recommendation. Upon approval, Tamiflu will be available in Europe next flu season. In Europe, influenza can affect up to one in ten adults in a normal year, and this number can increase significantly during severe epidemics. In the United Kingdom, about 20,000 people died as a result of influenza and its complications in 2000. In the US, approximately 40 million Americans contract the flu virus each year.

"During past flu seasons in the US, antivirals, such as Tamiflu, helped my patients decrease the duration of their flu bout and lessen the burden that the flu could have imposed on their lives," said Donald B. Perlman, M.D., Practicing Physician, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Medicine of New Jersey. "It is promising to see that this advancement in influenza treatment will now be available to a wider audience in Europe."

Tamiflu is available for the treatment of influenza in over 40 countries world-wide, including the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, Korea, Switzerland and many Latin American countries. Around four million patients have been treated with Tamiflu since launch. It is also approved in the US for the prevention of influenza in adolescents and adults, and in the US and Canada for the treatment of influenza in children aged 1 year and above.

About Tamiflu

Tamiflu was co-developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc, USA, and is a systemic treatment for the most common strains of influenza (types A and B). The medication targets one of the two major surface structures of the influenza virus, the neuraminidase protein. The neuraminidase site is virtually the same in the most common strains of influenza, types A and B. Tamiflu attacks the influenza virus and is thought to work by stopping it from spreading inside the body. Tamiflu treats flu at its source, by attacking the virus that causes the flu, rather than simply masking symptoms.

Tamiflu is generally well tolerated. In treatment studies for adults, the most frequently reported adverse events were mild-to-moderate, transient nausea or vomiting. Other events reported more frequently than with placebo were bronchitis, insomnia and vertigo.

About Roche

Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), based in Nutley, N.J., is the U.S. prescription drug unit of the Roche Group, a leading research-based health care enterprise that ranks among the world's leaders in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vitamins. Roche discovers, develops, manufactures and markets numerous important prescription drugs that enhance people's health, well-being and quality of life. Among the company's areas of therapeutic interest are: dermatology; genitourinary disease; infectious diseases, including influenza; inflammation, including arthritis and osteoporosis; metabolic diseases, including obesity and diabetes; neurology; oncology; transplantation; vascular diseases; and virology, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

For more information on the Roche pharmaceuticals business in the United States, visit the company's website at: http://www.rocheusa.com .

About Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide. The company has five marketed products and focuses its research and clinical programs on anti-infectives, including antivirals, antifungals and antibacterials. Headquartered in Foster City, CA, Gilead has operations in the United States, Europe and Australia. For more information regarding Gilead Sciences, visit the company's web site at http://www.gilead.com .

Statements relating to the ultimate approval of Tamiflu in Europe are forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors. The reader is cautioned that the CPMP opinion is not binding upon the EMEA, and that there remain a number of other risks related to regulatory approval of Tamiflu in Europe. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

EDITOR'S NOTE: FOR MORE INFORMATION ON INFLUENZA CONSUMERS CAN CALL 1-800-I-GOT-FLU (1-800-446-8358) OR LOG ON TO HTTP://WWW.TAMIFLU.COM. To learn about Influenza surveillance and to find out if flu is in your area, log on to http://www.flustar.com.

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SOURCE Roche and Gilead Sciences, Inc.

CONTACT:          Charles Alfaro of Roche, +1-973-562-2212,
                  charles.alfaro@roche.com; Susan Hubbard of Gilead Sciences, Inc.,
                  +1-650-522-5715, susan_hubbard@gilead.com; Alicia Carbaugh of Edelman
                  Healthcare, +1-212-642-7779, alicia.carbaugh@edelman.com, for Roche and Gilead
                  Sciences, Inc.

URL:              http://www.rocheusa.com
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