However, he told the group that the current level of antiviral resistance won’t necessarily persist, as sensitive flu strains might replace resistant ones. Osterholm also pointed out that antiviral resistance hasn’t been detected in influenza A/H3N2, a previous pandemic strain that is now a common seasonal strain. “It’s critical for businesses to understand how your states will use and distribute the antivirals,” he said. Osterholm warned viewers against releasing soon-to-expire antivirals for use in treating seasonal flu, because doing so might contribute to antiviral resistance. “The honest truth is no one knows,” said Osterholm, director of CIDRAP. During a question-and-answer session, some of the viewers said they struggled with shelf-life issues related to stockpiling, particularly during difficult economic conditions. Osterholm acknowledged that businesses and states are hamstrung by strict shelf-life rules, but he said stockpiling is still worth considering. Other companies offer turnkey solutions, which are online systems that register and educate employees and connect them with physicians who can write antiviral prescriptions, Quarry said. Turnkey systems offer the option of immediate distribution of the antivirals through mail order or pharmacies or traditional stockpiling. He said the limitations include paying for the drugs up front, renewing prescriptions each year, and keeping the stockpile current. Osterholm said according to the most recent information, there are 81 million antiviral treatment doses are in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and state stockpiles. About 80% of the supply is oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and 20% is zanamivir (Relenza). Six million courses are to be used to help contain the pandemic outbreak, wherever it occurs in the world. Of the remaining courses, 50 million are in federal reserves and 25 million reside with states. Quarry advised businesses to optimize the potency of their stockpiles by regularly reviewing the storage conditions. “If you were heading down the antiviral path, who are the most important people in your plan?” he asked. “How you work that out might not necessarily be based on seniority.” He described a range of stockpiling options, which include antiviral reservation programs offered by Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline, the producer of Relenza. The programs are typically less expensive than buying, rotating, and storing the drugs outright, he said. However, in the chaos of a pandemic, he said the two companies might still have problems distributing the antivirals to their corporate customers. Antiviral medications will still have a vital role to play, given that pandemic vaccine capacity will fall far short of the amount needed for the world population and that little is known about the efficacy of nonpharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, he said. The drugs will allow employers to provide early treatment for employees who become ill or prophylaxis for workers who are critical to essential business operations. Jun 26, 2008, CIDRAP News story “Roche unveils plan to boost employer antiviral stockpiling” Doug Quarry, MBBS, MSc, medical director of International SOS Online, an international provider of medical assistance for travelers and corporate clients, told the group that once businesses factor antivirals into their pandemic plan, a key step is defining a stockpiling goal, which could range from a portion of employees to all employees and their dependents. “There is truly a real benefit for a company to control its own destiny,” he said, adding that businesses should be reluctant to dispose of expired antivirals, because shelf-life rules might change in a future emergency. At a webinar today sponsored by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) Business Source, an online infectious-disease preparedness resource for businesses, Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said experts can’t predict if high levels of antiviral resistance recently seen in seasonal influenza A/H1N1 viruses will have any bearing on treatment for a future pandemic strain. Mar 31, 2009 (CIDRAP News) Antiviral resistance and the global economic downturn might present new obstacles for corporate antiviral stockpiling, but two medical experts today said the medications are still quick, reliable tools that can help preserve business continuity in an influenza pandemic. See also: Sep 3, 2008, CIDRAP News story “Glaxo offers program to boost employer antiviral stockpiling” Quarry recommended that companies that have global offices assess the strengths of country pandemic and stockpiling plans, which vary widely. For example, stockpiling is difficult in China because prescriptions are valid for only 2 weeks. However, he added that locations such as Hong Kong and Germany have policies that make it easier for companies to stockpile antivirals.
Loading …Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comment (1) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. -1 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 280 weeks ago Who’s Gregg Marshall? Report Reply 0 replies · active 280 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments What best describes your feeling about WSU coach Gregg Marshall’s decision to stay? I’m absolutely ecstatic. I’m happy now. But let’s see about next year. Was it really worth the $3 million a year to keep him here? I wanted to see him leave. Boo! I hate WSU. View Results read more