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August 24, 2005

Marketplace Health ManagementPSoTD

One of the biggest problems with letting a marketplace manage itself?

Hoarding.

North American sales of the drug oseltamivir have more than tripled in recent months, a trend public health experts see as evidence individuals are stockpiling the once little-used antiviral as a hedge against a possible flu pandemic.

With similar reports emerging in other countries as well, a leading advocate for pandemic preparedness is concerned public demand could soon outstrip the limited global supply.

And what happens when supply can't meet demand in that marketplace?

"We are on a collision course to panic," warns Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"I think that what's going to happen is . . . that this drug - which has yet to really be demonstrated to have any clinical impact on H5N1 infection - is now going to become the 'I can't get product, therefore I must have it right away product.'

"The reality is going to come through that there is only so much available."

Posted by dymaxion at August 24, 2005 01:29 PM

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