Singapore’s Ministry of Health has sent expired Tamiflu supplies to the general practitioner’s in Singapore. Tamiflu, which comes in boxes of 10 pills each, is the anti-viral drug for the H1N1 flu. According to the report and to my own sources as well, these Tamiflu meds hve expiry dates of 2007, and was manufactured in 2003. MOH has added a sticker that says that these meds can be used beyond their shelf life – to 2010.
MOH’s circular to the GPs say this:
“We would like to assure you that the extension is with the approval from the manufacturer (Roche), U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and our Health Sciences Authority. This extention is made possible due to our stringent conditioning and maintenance requirements in our storage facilities. The efficacy of the drug is not compromised in any way and is fit for usage.”
Straits Times has done really well to get doctors to give their response.
Dr Wong Tien Hua, a general practitioner in Sengkang, said an expiry date can vouch for a drug’s effectiveness only for that period. ‘If it is past the expiry date, the effectiveness of the drug might not be good,’ he said, adding that someone with the H1N1 virus might take longer to recover if given ‘expired’ medication. (from ST)
Agreeing, Dr Vincent Chia, deputy director of Healthway Medical, said although it is a national stockpile, the onus will still be on the doctor to explain to patients. ‘Tamiflu is not without its side effects…so when that happens we won’t know if it’s because the drugs are expired or because of the side effects,’ he said. (from ST)