Monday, August 15, 2005

People are beginning to notice

George (El Presidente). Julie (Director of CDC). Wake up. People are beginning to notice.
While researchers furiously pursue defenses against the expected outbreak of a deadly international flu, the U.S. policymakers remain amazingly passive about pandemic preparations.
This Editorial in the The Philidelphia Inquirer (reg. required) also takes the administration to task in its tardy and insufficient efforts at getting a vaccine ready. The recent announcement that a vaccine has passed its first tests is now the subject of furious backtracking as everyone realizes the tests revealed the dose needed was so large there was no hope of adequate manufacturing capacity for some time--even supposing the vaccine works, which is not yet established, nor if it does work for the strain it was designed for, whether that will be the strain that eventually is the source of a pandemic.

Over the years the government has left the task of developing a vaccine to the drug companies, who, it turns out, weren't actually doing it because they could make so much more money selling impotence drugs or pain medications with serious side effects. The Inquirer notes this but then goes on to suggest that better incentives are needed.

Not true. We need a better Administration. One that would recognize that if the market doesn't work (and everyone agrees in this case it hasn't) we would have taken the necessary steps to do the research, development and manufacture of an influenza vaccine (an ongoing need) with public funds and for an overriding public purpose: the safety and security of our citizenry. The President doesn't mind spending incredibly large amounts of our money for what he thinks is necessary in that regard. Let him do it with a far smaller sum for what everyone else recognizes is necessary.