The race is on
to get enough antiviral drugs stockpiled in time
So far, the United States has just 2.3 million treatment courses of Tamiflu on hand; discussions are under way about how much more might be needed and who would get them first. According to a Roche spokesman, Terence Hurley, among the other countries that have placed firm orders, Britain will buy 14.6 million courses of the drug; France wants 13 million; and Canada, 5.4 million. The orders are to be filled over the next several years.
Roche, too, has scrambled to increase production to meet the increased demand, doubling its production capacity for Tamiflu from 2003 to 2004, with another doubling expected by the end of 2005. The plan, Mr. Hurley said, is to bring additional manufacturing to the United States in the fall, with the first pills from those plants reaching the market 10 or 12 months late
I've said before, that the risk of a bird flu pandemic may be a bit overstated, but it could definitely happen