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Microsoft word - avian act release final.doc
TFAH COMMENDS INTRODUCTION OF AVIAN ACT BY SENATOR OBAMA AND CALLS
FOR U.S. TO STOCKPILE ANTI-VIRAL MEDICATION FOR POTENTIAL PANDEMIC FLU
Media contacts: Laura Segal (202) 223-9870 x 278 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Earls (202) 223-9870
x 273 or email@example.com WASHINGTON, April 29, 2005 –
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) commends Senator Barack
Obama (D-IL) for his introduction yesterday of the AVIAN (Attacking Viral-Influenza Across Nations)
Act of 2005. Experts worldwide believe a pandemic flu outbreak is inevitable and are highly concerned
about the severity of the avian influenza virus currently circulating in Asia.
“The U.S. is not prepared for a flu pandemic. The avian flu is a real and dangerous threat to the health to
our nation and the world. If the virus mutates slightly, we could have a million Americans hit by the first
wave of a pandemic,” said Shelley A. Hearne, DrPH, Executive Director of TFAH. “Senator Obama
should be recognized for his leadership and foresight in taking action to better protect Americans by
introducing this important and timely bill.”
The critical legislation includes a mandate for the federal government to stockpile the anti-viral
medication oseltamivir, commonly known as Tamiflu. This medication could be an essential stop-gap
measure to protect people from a lethal strain of the flu while scientists are trying to develop a vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a pandemic flu outbreak could impact
approximately 25 percent of the population in nations worldwide. Unfortunately, there is limited
production capacity for this vital medication. A number of other countries have already ordered enough
Tamiflu to protect 25 percent of its population in case of an outbreak, so the U.S. is already behind in the
queue to place an order from the limited supply of the medication, for which there is a single
manufacturer worldwide. The U.S. federal government currently has 2.3 million courses of Tamiflu
stockpiled, however it would require approximately 74 million courses to cover 25 percent of the U.S.
Given the critical importance of Tamiflu to an immediate response to a pandemic, TFAH urges Congress
to act immediately to appropriate the funds in necessary to begin procuring an adequate number of
courses of Tamiflu to safeguard the U.S. population.
“We must act now,” Hearne said. “It is essential that the U.S. is in line to receive anti-viral medication in
the event of a pandemic, especially since national vaccine policies and manufacturing capabilities are
Earlier this month, TFAH released an analysis that found American preparations for a pandemic flu
lagging, including vaccine and treatment shortfalls, gaps in containment strategies, limited plans for how
to keep the public informed, and inadequate review of state plans for quality and feasibility.
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by
protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.
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