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Resistance to Bird Flu Drug Reported

Tamiflu May Have Failed to Stop Bird Flu in Vietnamese Children

Prescribing on Demand

It is not clear how much personal stockpiling of the antiviral drug has occurred. A few leading public health groups, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, have called on doctors to resist patient requests for prescriptions to be used for this purpose.

But medical ethicist Allan S. Brett, MD, tells WebMD that stronger guidelines are clearly needed from public health officials who have so far been silent on the issue.

The University of South Carolina professor of medicine says doctors would welcome specific directives from the CDC and state departments of health, just as they welcomed them in the fall of 2004 when there was a shortage of flu vaccine.

"It seems to me that individual practicing physicians should not be put in the middle of something that obviously has so many public health implications," he says.

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