Anti-Viral Drugs In Case of Avian Flu Pandemic - Federal Government to
Negotiate Directly With Roche For Tamiflu - Bird Flu
July 9th 2006
Many states are working out a deal with the Federal government in an
effort to save money on Tamilfu. The State of New York is spending
about $18 million on Tamilfu and $5 million on Relenza. This is after
the state received a C+ grade from the American College of Emergency
Physicians in January for not being prepared for the bird flu. The C+
rating is still better than the C- rating given to the nation as a
The potential disaster caused by the bird flu, if it mutates, could
overwhelm the emergency and hospital systems. Mark Johnson of the
Associate Press points out that the purchase of the antiviral drugs is
only part of the solution.
The director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at
Columbia University's Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Dr.
Irwin Redlener, believes this is just part of a larger strategy. Most of
the nation is unprepared according to the report.
Redlener said, “Tamiflu is not a complete answer by any stretch of the
imagination. It's really much more concerning to me that our public
health and hospital system is not ready to take care of a large number
The Federal government is stocking up on antiviral drugs too. The AP
report said that the Bush administration is planning to buy enough
antivirals to treat 44 million people.
Another AP report appearing in the Arizona East Valley Tribune indicates
the U.S. is negotiating with Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, in an effort
to lower the cost. The government may save up to 25 percent by buying
in bulk. The report says that “Arizona and Montana want only a little
extra help. Meanwhile, states such as Washington say they plan to take
full advantage of the next few weeks to determine the right amount of
drugs to purchase.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) set a July 1st
deadline to put their order in. Later the deadline was moved to August
1st. HHS spokesperson said that the deadline does not
obligate states to a specific course of action, but rather serves as
guidance to HHS for its planning.