Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Fletcher Authorizes Tamiflu Stockpile to Protect Kentuckians
Governor Fletcher Authorizes Tamiflu Stockpile to Protect Kentuckians,
Medicines Would Aid Response to Flu Pandemic
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 2, 2006) Governor Ernie Fletcher has authorized the Department for Public Health (DPH) to order a stockpile of antiviral drugs to help protect Kentuckians in the event of an influenza pandemic.
"It is vital that we prepare now to protect Kentuckians in the event of an influenza pandemic," said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. "History demonstrates the devastating toll that such pandemics can have. Because these antiviral drugs can help us prevent or lessen the severe illness associated with pandemics, we must take the federal government's recommendation to build this stockpile."
Kentucky has asked the federal government to reserve the full 432,381 courses of antivirals recommended to the state by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the CDC has committed to having 613,703 courses of antivirals earmarked for Kentucky in the federal stockpile by the end of 2007. The total of 1,046,084 courses will be enough to cover 25 percent of the state's population.
"We are proceeding with the diligence Kentuckians deserve in our preparations for a possible influenza pandemic," said William D. Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner and acting undersecretary for health. "This stockpile will be a key asset to our response in the event of a pandemic."
The state will work with the federal government over the next six months to develop a purchase plan for the drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, available to states at a 25 percent discount. The estimated cost to the state will be $6 million. The recommendation to cover 25 percent of the population comes from estimates of previous illness rates during pandemics.
Governor Fletcher hosted a state summit on pandemic flu planning with top federal health officials earlier this year in Frankfort. Kentucky's local health departments followed that effort with a series of 50 summits aimed at local planning covering all 120 counties.
According to the federal Department for Health and Human Services, pandemic flu is virulent flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Although currently there is no circulating pandemic flu strain, this step will help prepare the state for a possible flu pandemic. More information on pandemic flu readiness is available at
http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/preparedness/pandemicinfluenza.htm and www.pandemicflu.gov.