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Demand Soars For Bird Flu Medication

18 October 2005

Demand Soars For Bird Flu Medication

Key treatments and respirator masks in short supply!

Demand has soared for medication, respirator masks and information aimed at helping New Zealanders cope with a possible avian flu pandemic.

Pharmacy Direct, New Zealand's leading on-line pharmacy, says that it has been inundated with emails and telephone calls in recent days, with some staff fully occupied just coping with the demand surge.

"We have now sold out of the medication, 'Tamiflu' and are unlikely to be able to access new stocks before late November. We also understand that there is an extreme shortage of respirator masks available in New Zealand, "says Pharmacy Direct's Managing Director, Greg Macpherson.

"While it's important not to take an alarmist view of the bird flu threat, as with any potential civil emergency, it is also important to be prepared. That's true both for our country as a whole and for individuals and families," he says.

Despite the shortages, Pharmacy Direct has been able to develop a bird flu resource kit, which includes respirator masks, tissues and gloves, as well as pharmacy medicines and multi-vitamins. The kits should be available by mid-week from the organisation's website, www.pharmacydirect.co.nz

"We decided to develop the kit following last week's warnings from senior health industry figures that, in the event of a pandemic, most flu sufferers would be treating themselves at home. We have followed common sense principles, including in the kits those materials and medications you would be advised to use in the event of any flu outbreak," says Greg Macpherson.

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"We have tried to keep the price within an acceptable range for the average family with young children, as it is often these families which are most at risk.

"An online pharmacy such as Pharmacy Direct could play an important role in a major health emergency. Not only would home-bound patients be able to access important health information and order supplies from us through the internet. Providing transport is only minimally affected by the emergency, we should also be able to deliver these supplies direct to patients' homes.

"We hope there will be no emergency. But, if there is one, we will do all we can to be here, helping New Zealanders to get through," he adds.
Founded in 1998, Pharmacy Direct is one of only two online pharmacies accredited to the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.


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