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Antiviral stockpile? Soon it'll be BOGOF Tamiflu

Oh, I really hate to crow about this but I've just deleted about 70 e-mails from my in-box – all labelled 'Unread' - on the subject of pig flu, swabbing, contact tracing, prophylactic prescribing and all that.

Oh, I really hate to crow about this but I've just deleted about 70 e-mails from my in-box – all labelled 'Unread' - on the subject of pig flu, swabbing, contact tracing, prophylactic prescribing and all that.

Now it's clinical judgement, 'diagnose and treat' time.

All I want to know now is what we're going to do with all the out-of-date Tamiflu we'll be stuck with when folk realise that there's no point in making such a big deal out of a relatively benign H1N1 mutation, can't be arsed to organise a Flu Friend with all the attendant proof-of-identity malarkey and settle for a couple of days in bed with some ibuprofen and the TV remote control.

About half the NHS's current stocks of the drug will pass its sell by date in 2010 – and those stocks currently comprise eleven billion milligrams (that's eleven metric tonnes to you and me).

Ministers are advising patients not to buy Tamiflu on the internet. No surprise there. If the vaccine arrives in August as scheduled and the at risk are jabbed then there'll be a hell of a fire sale to be had. 'Tamiflu! Buy One Get One Free', at the very least. They'll be giving it away with cornflakes by Christmas.

Copperfield Copperfield

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