Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

BBC under attack over huge stockpiling of swine flu drug

The BBC has come under fire for “stockpiling” thousands of doses of the swine flu drug Tamiflu.

The corporation says it bought up supplies for staff members who may come into contact with the virus in the course of their work.

But it prompted an angry response from the Tories who say the authorities have warned against buying up stocks of the drug.

Scottish Tory public health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “It is nothing short of disgraceful that a licence payer funded body is storing away an antiviral which is free on the NHS.”

About 4,000 doses of the Tamiflu drug have been bought by the corporation.

It is not for general use and can only be given to staff facing work related risks — not those coming into contact with the virus through friends or family.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We have a duty of care to protect staff who may come into contact with infection in the course of their work as far as it is reasonably practical.”

The BBC's supplies need to be distributed all around the world to ensure rapid access.

“We are not competing with the NHS for scarce vaccines — the UK has strong stocks of antiviral medicines,” the spokeswoman said.

“However, we would not expect the NHS to pay for our stocks of antiviral medicines in for example Hong Kong or South America.”

But Mr Carlaw says he now plans to write to BBC bosses to raise the issue.

For more information on Swine Flu click here

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