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Ryall still confused on antibiotic supplies

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

12 December 2005 Media Statement

Ryall still confused on antibiotic supplies

National Health Spokesman Tony Ryall is playing politics with the difference between stockpiles and supply lines, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

"I announced today that PHARMAC is moving to secure a guaranteed supply of antibiotics in the event of an influenza pandemic," Pete Hodgson said.

"Many antibiotics have shorter expiry dates so stockpiling them under lock and key – as we do with Tamiflu – just runs the risk that they will be wasted.

"Instead, PHARMAC is keen to have a larger volume of antibiotics accessible through supply lines. If a pandemic does not eventuate over say, the next year, those antibiotics could be progressively released into circulation whereas Tamiflu will remain in secure containment.

"It's important to note that Tamiflu lasts for at least five years whereas some of the antibiotics we're seeking expire within 18 or 24 months. The different management of the drugs reflects their different expiry times."

ENDS

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