Bush Unveils Flu Strategy?

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Is the United States, or the world, indanger of a pandemic influenza outbreak?There have been 3 worldwidepandemics in the last century. Expertscannot give a definitive answer as towhether there will be another outbreak.President George W. Bush, however,recently outlined a $7.1-billionstrategy to prepare the nation for thelikelihood of a worldwide outbreak. Amajority of the spending the presidentis seeking from Congress would be earmarkedtoward research and a stockpileof vaccines and antiviral drugs toprotect Americans from the currentstrain of the avian flu.

Under the president's plan, $2.8 billionwould be allocated for researchingmore dependable and quicker ways todevelop vaccines, $1.2 billion for thegovernment to purchase enough dosesof the vaccine against the current strainof the avian flu, and $1 billion to storemore antiviral drugs (eg, Roche LaboratoriesInc's Tamiflu). The governmenthas also instructed Americans not tostockpile Tamiflu because it will hurtfederal efforts to reserve enough medicationto treat individuals who reallyneed it. Roche recently stopped shipmentsof Tamiflu to US pharmaciesbecause of concern about hoarding.