AMA comes out against personal antiviral stockpiling

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2005

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Patients should not be prescribed antivirals to have on hand in preparation for the possibility that avian influenza might hit here, according to a statement by the American Medical Association this month.

The Association issued the statement in response to anecdotal reports that, in light of the potential threat of a pandemic influenza, patients have been asking for prescriptions for these drugs despite the lack of human cases of the disease here. The concern is that these drugs could be misused or that stockpiling will lead to drug shortages.

"The AMA understands the concern people have for their health and the health of their families with the recent outbreaks of avian flu in birds," said AMA Trustee Ardis D. Hoven, MD. "Needlessly taking an antiviral may contribute to the problem of resistance to that antiviral drug, which would then make the drug less useful in the event of an actual avian flu outbreak."

In the past year, the World Health Organization has recorded 78 cases of human infection with the avian influenza strain.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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