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Most states have fewer drugs than feds suggest

May 1, 2009
by ALEX DOMINGUEZ
Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) - With a swine flu outbreak spreading across the nation, more than half the states have yet to stockpile the number of flu-treatment doses recommended by the federal government, an Associated Press survey found.

States that are falling short cite budget constraints, or say it's better to spend health-care funds on preventing the spread of disease than on antiviral medicines that may or may not work on a particular flu strain.

Jeff Levi of the Trust for America's Health, which compiled a recent state-by-state report on the stockpiling of antiviral medicine, criticized that decision and said the federal government should have purchased the full amount itself.

"I think what we're seeing with swine flu, with the virus being susceptible to the drugs in the stockpile, I think it demonstrates the importance of doing this," Levi said.

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