Many states line up for anti-flu medicine; others on the fence - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Many states line up for anti-flu medicine; others on the fence

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Some states aren't waiting for an August first deadline to seek help from the federal government in buying anti-flu medicine. They're already lining up to stockpile medication in the event of a flu pandemic. But for those states that want help they can buy more medicine through a federal subsidy. In all, states could use the subsidy to buy anti-flu medications for an additional 31 (m) million people. While some states are taking full advantage of the program, others have indicated they probably won't use their full allotment. Or, as in Washington state, officials are still calculating what they need. Tim Church, spokesman for the Washington state Department of Health, says the state plans to use the next several weeks to determine the right amount of drugs to purchase. He says "it's not a black-and-white decision" to determine how much of the drugs the state will need. As part of its pandemic preparations, the federal government is stockpiling Tamiflu and other anti-flu medications, which can reduce the symptoms associated with influenza. The Bush administration plans to buy enough to treat 44 (m) million people, with the subsidies in addition to that.
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