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July 2008
Volume 18, Number 7
IDSA Advocacy Update: IDSA Opposes Federal Antiviral, Antibiotic Stockpiling Plans

IDSA is urging the federal government to expand the federal antiviral stockpile rather than rely upon employer purchase to ensure antiviral prophylaxis of at-risk workers in an influenza pandemic. The Society, along with the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology (SHEA), issued comments on the federal government’s June 2008 revision of two draft guidance documents, on antiviral use during a pandemic and antiviral stockpiling by employers in preparation for a pandemic.

Other advocacy items:

  • Together with the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Family Physicians, IDSA opposed a plan under consideration by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to permit the public to purchase and stockpile antivirals at home ahead of a potential influenza pandemic, citing clinical and public health considerations. In a joint letter, the societies offered aid to overall national antiviral distribution and dispensing efforts.
  • Similarly, at a meeting of the National Biodefense Science Board, IDSA delivered public comments raising concerns about an HHS initiative to permit the public to stockpile doxycycline at home for use in a potential anthrax attack.
  • IDSA and SHEA opposed including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), among other complications, on a list of “reasonably preventable” conditions for which hospitals will not receive additional payment if the conditions are not present on admission and if they are the only co-morbidity. In joint comments to Medicare on the 2009 inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule, IDSA and SHEA also supported including surgical site infections following total knee replacement and varicose vein stripping as reasonably preventable hospital acquired conditions.
  • IDSA joined other global health groups in calling on Congress to significantly increase funding for global health research programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, especially at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Fogarty International Center.
  • IDSA signed a coalition letter to House Appropriations Committee Chair, David Obey, urging that the committee not adopt any amendment which would restrict the use, or limit the availability, of recommended vaccines, in particular influenza vaccine containing thimerosal.
  • IDSA and SHEA urged the federal government to emphasize the use of facemasks rather than N95 respirators by the general public as part of pandemic influenza preparedness efforts.

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