Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Oseltamivir storage, distribution and dispensing following the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak in Mexico

Luis Meave Gutiérrez-Mendoza, Brian Schwartz, José de Jesús Méndez de Lira & Veronika J Wirtz

Problem

During an influenza outbreak or pandemic, timely access to antivirals is essential to reduce disease severity and transmission. Best practices in antiviral procurement, storage, distribution, prescription and dispensing must be followed for prompt drug delivery.

Approach

Mexico implemented a national pandemic preparedness plan in 2006 and created a strategic antiviral stockpile. Oseltamivir powder was stored centrally in bulk for distribution to all 31 states and the capital district during an influenza outbreak.

Local setting

San Luis Potosí, in northern Mexico, was one of the states most intensely affected by the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Relevant changes

The oseltamivir powder was meant to be reconstituted locally but had to be reconstituted centrally during the 2009 influenza outbreak. Doubts arose surrounding the shelf-life of the reconstituted product. As a result of these problems, the first supply of the drug reached San Luis Potosí 11 days after the influenza outbreak had begun. Furthermore, dispensing criteria at the state level had to be changed in conformity with the availability of oseltamivir.

Lessons learnt

Antiviral demand forecasts should be based on clearly defined distribution and dispensing criteria and decentralization of some of the medication stockpile should be considered. Mexico’s national pandemic preparedness plan needs to be updated in accordance with the lessons learnt in 2009 to improve strategic stockpile management and ensure rapid delivery of oseltamivir to the population.

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