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Kiwis must wait for Tamiflu

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

25 November 2005


Kiwis must wait for Tamiflu

National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says access to the national stockpile of Tamiflu has become an even greater issue following news from drug company Roche that new supplies of Tamiflu will not be available in New Zealand until May 2006.

“Health Minister Pete Hodgson needs to answer questions as to what impact this will have on pandemic planning,” says Mr Ryall.

“He has previously said that it’s up to DHBs to get additional stocks of Tamiflu.

“National understands that several DHBs have placed orders for their own stock. This means there will be different levels of access to Tamiflu in different parts of the country. Mr Hodgson needs to explain what effect that will have on pandemic management.

“The Government also needs to give some assurance that DHB orders will be considered as official Government orders, so they are given priority by the manufacturer.

“In any case, if the Government orders additional Tamiflu now it will essentially end up in a global line for further stocks of the drug.

“Thousands of New Zealanders have Tamiflu on order, and they will now have to wait until the middle of next year to get it.

“While Tamiflu is an important tool, the Government must also plug the major gaps in its pandemic plans - including how to get medical help to those sick at home, increasing the national supply of antibiotics and other essential drugs, and why no one person is in charge of pandemic planning,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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