Lack of flu supplies a potential problem

If we hope to make it through the throes of the next flu season, we'd better increase our stock of supplies in a hurry. The Boston Globe reports that the arrival of swine flu in the United States gave way to a shortage of medicine, masks, testing supplies and more, all across the country. It also demonstrated just how unprepared and vulnerable the nation was to this pandemic.

In particular, Massachusetts is looking to increase spending on such supplies by $1 million. Governor Deval Patrick requested increased funding from the state legislature after the state's health agency was forced to use its emergency supply of flu-relief pills.

"We really didn't have a good handle on how much commercial supplies were out there, who had them, how rapidly they were being drawn down, and how to blend the public and private stockpiles so there would be no disruption of service," James Blumenstock of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials told the Globe. "We have identified different shortcomings, gaps, weaknesses, possibly flawed or off-target planning assumptions that need to be inventoried and effectively addressed over the next several months."

To learn more about the supply shortage:
- read this Boston Globe article