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The outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Asia has reignited concerns about an influenza pandemic. It is clear that influenza vaccine will be in short supply (or nonexistent) early in an influenza pandemic. Without vaccine, the role of antiviral agents, especially oseltamivir, in treatment and prophylaxis is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the government cannot possibly stockpile enough oseltamivir to provide long-term prophylaxis or treatment for every healthcare worker in the United States. We think that hospitals should consider stockpiling oseltamivir, and we provide a strategy for doing so at a reasonable cost.
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