Medical experts have said the five-year expiry date on existing Tamiflu capsules can be ignored during a declared pandemic.
According to the European Medicines Agency, Tamiflu will actually last for seven years even though it is labelled with a five-year shelf life.
The recommendation is expected to be approved by the European Commission and will apply to all newly manufactured Tamiflu capsules.
Research into how to prevent shortages of antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu by the agency showed that the expiry date extension was possible to manage flu pandemics when vaccines were not normally available during an outbreak’s early stages.
It said: ‘These recommendations will only apply if a pandemic has been declared by the World Health Organisation.’
The European Medicines Agency has also issued guidance on the use of Tamiflu in young children, pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding.
A statement said: ‘The benefits of the use of Tamiflu outweigh its risks in the treatment of children under the age of one. But doctors should carefully consider the benefits and risks for each patient.’