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October 06, 2005

Yesterday

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Yesterday Tom Ashbrook, host of the WBUR program "On Point" talked to several physicians about the avian flu. I only heard a little of the show, because in the midst of all this impending doom, a friend of mine won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry! Since I was shopping for a fine wine celebration gift, my listening was intermittant .

As a chemist, my friend is very interested in wine. I settled on a Cain Five 2001, whatever that is. It was kept in a locked cooler in the back, into which I have never before been invited. I took Monique's recommendation blindly. If someone gave me a Cain Five, I would probably dump it in the stroganoff.

The only thing my friend has ever told me about chemistry, that I understood and remembered, is that garlic develops different chemical properties when chopped, sliced or crushed, so be certain to follow the recipe instructions in that area exactly.

But I digress. The speaker on my computer is out, so I cannot listen to the show in its entirety, but what little I heard, infuriated me. Tom Ashbrook asked good questions, like "Who decides who gets the two million doses of Tamiflu that the government has stockpiled?" His guest, a physican from Vanderbilt, was vaguely reassuring about that, certain it would be equitable - they're developing a disaster plan at Vanderbilt, which they will follow. He also said there was much more Tamiflu around, when you consider the stock that pharmacies and hospitals keep on hand. Right.

A school teacher called in to say that she doesn't trust the government to handle a disaster like this well, after the last fiasco. She went on to say that, In her experience, everyone sends their children to school when they are sick, and goes to work sick too. Tom responded that perhaps if people are dying, maybe parents will be more judicious. The caller also made the point that allergies are epidemic in the school age population. So far, all flu vaccines are made from eggs. What about all the people who are allergic to eggs? What about the fact that we have killed millions of chickens in an attempt to control the H5N1 virus?

The snippets that I heard from medical experts, in my opinion, were falsely reassuring. A bit insulting in fact. There, there, let's not worry about this too much folks, the death rate may only be 5% (the 1918 pandemic killed 1%, and it was pretty devastating.)

I received this email yesterday too.

Dear DrugDelivery.ca Customer,

We are sending you this email as a courtesy to update you on the current Tamiflu/Relenza/Suspension situation with our company. As you may be aware, we are extremely busy fulfilling several thousand orders from the USA and all over the world, and this of course has caused many concerns over the availability of stock and the arrival date of your order. We hope this email will answer many of your questions.

Question #1 : Why are the phone lines so busy, and why haven't you answered my email yet?

We are receiving on average 3000 emails per day, and over 2500 phone calls. As you can imagine, this is causing a very long wait period for you to get a response to your questions and while we are doing our best to fix this problem, it will be like this for at least the next 2-3 weeks so please bear with us while we do our best to serve you. Please rest assure, there is an end to the long wait on the phone and we are there to help you, but in most cases it might be easier to just leave a message and have someone call you back. We please ask that you only email all your queries and only phone us for emergences as this will help those who need to speak with us get in touch much quicker. We will do our best to responds to all voice messages and emails within 24-48 business hours, but if we take longer, please forgive us and try to contact us again.

Question #2 : When will I receive my order of Tamiflu/Suspension?

We are processing orders at an amazing rate but despite all our efforts and diversification to pharmacies all over the world, we are unable to ship out all the orders we receive daily. This does not mean we do not have the stock to ship the orders, this just means that on average, it will take 3 days to ship all the orders we get each day. So each and every day we continue to take orders, we are being put another 3 days behind on schedule. We are working hard to play catch-up in this scenario (including working 24/7 in some pharmacies), but the date we catch up is still several weeks down the road and really depends on how much longer the volume will continue.

Question #3 : How much Tamiflu do you still have left in stock?

This is a difficult question to answer as it changes daily. At the current rate of orders we have approximately 2-4 weeks left in stock from our current suppliers. If we have new suppliers sign on between now and the next 2 weeks we will of course extend this deadline. For now, all orders that are placed have stock set aside for them, and we also have another set of stock put aside for any "problems" that may occur during shipments, such as lost packages, or problems clearing customs. When you place your order with us your stock is guaranteed, so please do not worry. We will email all customers to let them know when there is less than 1 week stock left. We will not stop taking orders without notice... .....

And that's it from my corner of the universe

Photo note: No meaning, I just like it.

Posted by Dakota at October 6, 2005 05:59 AM