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States Buying Anti-Viral Drugs In Case of Avian Flu Pandemic - Federal Government to Negotiate Directly With Roche For Tamiflu - Bird Flu

July 9th 2006

States Buying Anti-Viral Drugs In Case of Avian Flu Pandemic - Federal Government to Negotiate Directly With Roche For Tamiflu - Bird Flu


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 whole.

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 of patients."

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.

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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