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Increased demand for Bird flu anti-viral drug world wide

Due to fears of large scale global outbreak of bird flu that can occur any time given the current conditions world wide people have started stock piling and storing stocks of bird flu vaccines and anti-viral drugs//. Even the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to stock vaccines and anti-viral drugs for 20 million people.

Bird Flu or avian influenza has infected more than 100 people in Asia and killed about half of them since 2004, three health agencies, including the World Health Organization, said last month.

Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering said, “But we can't pin down a specific time for the outbreak so far," Zhong, told the Information Time and a global flu outbreak generally took place every 20 to 50 years and the last such epidemic had occurred more than 20 years back and we are not able to know whether bird flu viruses can join human flu viruses to create some viruses that could live inside humans.

The anti viral drug Tamiflu has been approved by WHO as a safe and effective drug for use in flu epidemic, following the recommendations of WHO, there is a great public demand and crush for this anti flu drug Tamiflu. In New Zealand, supplies of Tamiflu exhausted within two days of its arrival. The New Zealand Government has proposed a policy for purchasing 850 000 doses of Tamiflu, which costs them around $26 million. Critics say that this dosage is very less and could only be useful for one fifth of the people in New Zealand. So, the public is in great need of Tamiflu, which has forced them to opt for buying Tamiflu in Pharmacist shop with prescriptions from General Practitioners. The pharmacist charge them about $75, but still the pharmacist is not able to supply the consumers as there is a great demand for Tamiflu by general public. The manufacturers Roche also agrees that there is a shortage of the drug as the drug has exhausted due to significant and sustained increase in demand for Tamiflu and the manufactures are manufacturing more drugs in their head office to meet the increased demand.

Pegasus Health, which represents most Christchurch GPs, has advised its doctors to avoid prescribing Tamiflu to the "wealthy, worried well" due to concerns about supply.

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