Where’s the Tamiflu?

There have been a number of recent stories describing people who died because they were not given Tamiflu in time. They did not meet the CDC’s guidelines: they weren’t sick enough, not in the right demographic group etc. I had thought the CDC was being overly strict because there was not enough Tamiflu go around. However, mixin at PFI_Forum called my attention to a publication from the Trust for Healthy Americans: H1N1 Challenges Ahead

On page 9 of this pamphlet, there is a table listing how much of each State’s population is covered by antivirals from both the federal government and state purchases. The total ranges from 14.9% in Colorado to 36.9% in DC. Given these numbers, it is not clear why everyone with flu-like symptoms is not getting anti-viral treatment. Even in the least prepared State, only a tiny fraction of their population has shown signs consistent with infection with the new H1N1.

Have States released their stockpiles of antivirals to local pharmacies? Has the federal government?

I’ve searched for some general policy, but have not found one. My impression from news stories is that this is being done on ad hoc basis. Here’s one example:

From Palm Beach Coast, October 1, 2009:

Acknowledging shortages of children’s Tamiflu liquid throughout the region, the Palm Beach County Health Department is releasing its share of the Strategic National Stockpile and ordering another 15 cases from the state’s central pharmacy.

So, who is making the decisions about how much Tamiflu to release in individual cities? The CDC? State governors? County Public Health officials?

Supposedly, vaccines are being delivered this week. So, why hasn’t all the Tamiflu we have been released, especially for children?

Could public health officials please release the Tamiflu they have sitting in warehouses and relax guidelines on who gets a prescription?

Because, right now, some kids are dying for Tamiflu.


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