Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Manitoba's aboriginals, pregnant women and homeless get priority for flu drug

From the Canadian Press:
The province that experienced an acute outbreak of swine flu on its northern reserves is making it easier for aboriginals and other vulnerable patients to get free antiviral drugs in a bid to lessen the impact of the virus come fall.

Manitoba has set out who can get Tamiflu more quickly under its pharmacare program. The groups include aboriginals, those with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women, smokers and the obese. The homeless and those with immune deficiencies, including cancer patients, will also get priority.

The changes, which will make it easier for doctors to prescribe Tamiflu quickly, were set out in a regulation that takes effect Aug. 18. People who don't meet the medical criteria can still buy a prescription for Tamiflu but it may not be covered by the province.

Under the old system, doctors had to justify each prescription which involved phone calls, faxes and paperwork.

Provincial Health Minister Theresa Oswald said her government wants to make sure that those who need the antivirals get them quickly. ...more

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