As states scramble to find money to purchase enough anti-flu drugs to treat a potential bird flu pandemic, some may fall short of the federal government's stated goal.
The federal government hopes that states will stockpile enough anti-flu drugs for 25 percent of the population.
States needed to indicate how many anti-virals they intended to buy through a discounted federal program by the end of July. States that confirm their numbers by the end of December will receive a federal subsidy covering 25 percent of their cost.
Doubtful That the Drugs Will Work
Although 43 states have asked the federal government to reserve their full allotments, funding is still uncertain for many. Many are seeking partners to share the cost, worried that the price tag will gut the funding to hospitals.
Some of the states not reserving their full allotments, such as Colorado, Montana, Connecticut, Nebraska and North Dakota, do not believe that buying the drugs is the best use of limited public health resources. Colorado officials, in particular, are doubtful that the drugs will work in the event of a pandemic.
Under the federal contract for state purchases, one course of Tamiflu costs $19 and one course of Relenza costs $22. If the states buy all 31 million treatments they are entitled to under the program, their cost will be roughly $465 million. In addition to this, the federal government plans to purchase outright 44 million courses for the states this fiscal year and next.
Throwing Drugs Away
These drugs are only for use in the event of a pandemic, and will have to be discarded if no pandemic occurs. The federal government has imposed this rule because letting states use pandemic supplies for regular flu would take future sales away from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline, which is selling the drugs at a discount for pandemic use only.
Bird flu has killed 135 people worldwide, and the virus has not, so far, spread easily among humans.
As you already know, a group of states had been backing away from buying their complete allotment of these useless avian flu drugs, amid concerns about the cost and their debatable effectiveness. But 43 states say they will buy the maximum amount of vaccines for this pandemic that never arrived.
What a deal for Roche and GlaxoSmithKline. They'll get $465 million from the states, and probably another $660 million from the federal government, for a pandemic that will never happen.
These "discounted" drugs are pure profit for the drug companies, because their allies in the government are making sure that these drugs won't compete with their regular sales, but are reserved for "emergency use." In other words, these drugs will be bought, kept around for a few years, and then thrown away, as Roche and GlaxoSmithKline merrily sell their regular assortment of useless flu drugs like Tamiflu each year in addition.
The rush to buy a potentially toxic, useless vaccine just to get it cheaper makes about as much sense as justifying buying something you don't need because it's on sale. Unless it is free, it is more than you should have spent because you don't need it.
I am currently working on a fast-track book called the Great Bird Flu Hoax that will be published soon. It will expand on this important issue even further. In the meantime, here are some safe, natural ways to strengthen your immune system so you'll never need a flu vaccine:
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