Monday, February 6, 2023

US releases drug from national reserve for influenza

The Joe Biden administration announced Wednesday that it will release doses of prescription flu medicine from the Strategic National Stockpile for distribution to states as flu patients show up in large numbers in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country.

This year’s flu season has been particularly intense. At a time when cases are on the rise, some people have also seen empty shelves in pharmacies and stores in search of over-the-counter medicines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that influenza has caused 150,000 hospitalizations and 9,300 deaths so far this season.

“The jurisdiction will be able to support the efforts to keep Americans healthy as flu cases rise this winter,” Don O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Services, said in a statement. Human Resources (HHS), which oversees the CDC.

States will be able to request doses of the influenza drug Tamiflu from HHS that are stored in the Strategic National Stockpile. The government did not disclose how many doses it would make available. Antiviral drugs were released from stockpiles more than 10 years ago during the swine flu, or H1N1, pandemic.

The federal agency also announced last week that it would allow states to dip into state stockpiles of Tamiflu, making millions of treatments available. Tamiflu can be prescribed to fight off the flu in people over the age of two weeks.

This flu season coincides with an alarming increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus in children and as COVID-19 infections are on the rise again.

Pain relievers and over-the-counter medicines, especially for children, have been reported to be out of stock in some stores in the country.

Nation World News Desk
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