State weighs cost of medications and risk of avian fluby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota has stockpiled about 85 percent of the antiviral medication it is entitled to buy from drug companies to prepare for a possible avian flu epidemic.
But state health officials might hold off on purchasing the rest of Minnesota's allotment. The antiviral medication has a shelf life of 7 years.
The Department of Health's Aggie Leitheiser said her agency is trying to balance its preparation goals with the possibility that the drugs might go to waste if the bird flu pandemic does not materialize.
"Unless we see a big change in the pandemic I don't know that we'll be going back for more. So I don't know that we'll say that we'll be at exactly 100 percent. But we're feeling moderately comfortable about the amount that we've gotten so far," Leitheiser said.
The Health Department has already spent more than $4 million on antiviral drugs. Leitheiser said her agency is exploring whether state money might be better spent on other pandemic supplies such as respirator masks.