wondering out loud…

I dropped off this comment on the REACH site in relation to H1N1.  This is strictly based on my understanding and what I remember about what i read earlier about extending the expiry date for the Tamiflu stockpile. 

This is rather belated I know since the news report but it has been something on my mind so I decided to comment on it, regardless.

Do correct my understanding of the report and/or drop off your comments on what you think of this action.  I will stand corrected and re-visit the site to re-post an updated comment, if necessary.  Look forward to hearing from you.

I read with concern that MOH had requested the manufacturer of the Tamiflu drug to extend the expiry date of the product for another three years. The reason, if I remember correctly, is that Singapore tends to be more stringent about expiry dates of medicine and therefore by international standard, the Tamiflu [stockpile in question], is still good for consumption.

I have four questions in relation to this action:

1. Why, if we have established a policy & procedure for expiry of medicine, do we re-visit it only now? And why only for the Tamiflu.

2. I remember reading before this announcement that Indonesia faced the same issue and the government destroyed all expired supply immediately. Why if Indonesia, who is generally not known, for stringent adherence to policy (where and if there is one) thinks that it is not safe for consumption, do we think that it is?

3. Hand to heart, would VIPs and VVIPs etc…etc… in Singapore or coming to Singapore for treatment also be administered the same supply of the same stock of extended expiry Tamiflu? Would the very same policy makers also be treated with the same and consume it?

4. Why, if it’s still effective and therefore legitimate for expiry to be extended, is there an explicit letter to GPs requiring GPs to get waiver from patients, before administering the drug? Or is this not true?

Look forward to hearing an honest and sincere response.

On behalf of the underdogs,
QN

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2 thoughts on “wondering out loud…”

  1. wow……curioser and curioser…. you may be on to something there, 2cents. i wonder if my friend from 3M is still there…. hmmm….

    and i believe it was the Tamiflu that was also used for SARS.

    hypothetically, if the instructions for the “second life” Tamiflu was because there is a short supply and if all and sundry, big shots and no shots, were to be administered the drug from the same stockpile, that i can understand.

    but if your conjecture (again hypothetical of course) of it being dispensed amongst the PPC clinics to a certain strata of society, is right, then it’s unforgiveable.

    no one has responded to my comment from REACH, i hope they do. and i hope they never come up with the reason that they are saving taxpayers’ money! (which of course if they are reading this thread, they might not now… ;p) if they can lose taxpayers’ money so easily like that through the GIC and close two eyes, these are lives and any life should be worth more. but certainly this speaks volumes of inventory management and control or the lack of it. i wonder which highly educated, all expenses paid PHD is in charge of this… hmmm… i hear, most untested and in decision-making positions. but that’s for another day. :p

  2. My personal take based on some anecdotal feedback:
    1/ When I was hunting desparately for N95 face masks at various pharmacies in Singapore to no avail, I was informed by someone that there are wharehouses of face masks but they cannot be released to the public without approval….I who is supposed to approve this? I guess it is not a free market after all.
    2/ If there is a stockpile of N95 masks, there must be a stock pile of flu medication, possibly leftover from SARS (cannot remember if Tamiflu was used to treat SARS). I am sure there is a stockpile for flu medication in anticipation of a flu pandemic. Tamiflu is not dispensed freely. I am told it is nopt even available at the typical GP clinic.
    3/ The “second-life” Tamiflu must have been stockpiled earlier and needs to be sent somewhere…….probably clinics with the PPC logo 🙂
    4/ I recall that during SARS, 3M was a major supplier for N95 masks. I have not seen any 3M masks this time. They are Kimberly Clark. Perhaps 3M holds the key to some of our questions. I wonder if there is an expiry date for N95 masks…..

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