Leaders of the profession called on thenation's pharmacists to discourage consumersfrom stockpiling supplies ofTamiflu—a practice they said may createa serious threat of shortages during thecoming influenza season.
Reports that consumers are hoardingquantities of the drug in anticipation of apossible outbreak of avian flu make itimportant for pharmacists and physicians"to address the problem to helpassure that the correct medication isavailable at the right time," the AmericanPharmacists Association (APhA) said.
"Stockpiling to protect against an as-yet-undefined threat creates its ownreal danger—that the antiviral productswill not be available to mitigate the realthreat of this season's influenza," APhAtold pharmacists.For its part, the associationurged itsmembers to "have acontingency plan toaccess appropriate quantities of medications,vaccines, and supplies to servepatients or be prepared to referpatients to other sources."
In addition to the possibility thatTamiflu hoarding may create shortagesduring the coming months, the APhAsaid there are other dangers associatedwith stockpiling the drug. "Indiscriminateor casual use of antivirals or antibioticscan create drug-resistant strains" thatmay eventually render these treatmentsuseless, an official from the associationreminded pharmacists.