Internal Glaxo Smith Kline memo shows the company is implementing “pandemic flu plan,” employees being provided with Tamiflu or Relenza prescription anti-virals medication. Employees are asked to determine whether they should take prescription drugs on their own, without a prescription or doctor visit.
The following is from Tamiflu.com:
People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of self injury and confusion shortly after taking TAMIFLU and should be closely monitored for signs of unusual behavior. A healthcare professional should be contacted immediately if the patient taking TAMIFLU shows any signs of unusual behavior.
Tamiflu is hallucinogenic, and in some doctors’ opinoins breeds stronger more dangerous flu viruses. This would be akin to a drug company passing out free antibiotics. We need to use these drugs to treat only what they’re intended to treat, to avoid building up resistant strains.
Relenza does not sound much safer:
In studies, the most common side effects with RELENZA have been headaches; diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; nasal irritation; bronchitis; cough; sinusitis; ear, nose, and throat infections; and dizziness. Other side effects that have been reported, but were not as common, include rashes and allergic reactions, some of which were severe.
Certainly both of these drugs should be prescribed after confirmation of actual influenza virus, not just left up to patients to guess whether they have the flu or a cold, strep, or any number of other possible infections that could be confused for the flu.
GSK internal email about Swine Flu:
Activation of GSK’s Pandemic Flu Plan:
what US employees need to know and do
The swine flu story dominating the news has detailed the movement of the virus from Mexico to other parts of the world. The global spread of the disease has led the World Health Organization to upgrade its alert system to Phase 5, meaning the virus has spread from human-to-human across countries. The declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and the time to prepare is now. This is reason for concern; however, it is not a reason to panic.
GSK has a robust pandemic flu preparedness plan in place that the Corporate Executive Team is now activating. As North America President of US Pharmaceuticals, I am responsible for implementing the pandemic flu plan for the US, and would like to take this opportunity to share with you the following information about the plan and what you need to do to help protect yourself and your family.
The Flu Information Source on myGSK
All employees should frequent the Flu Information Source on the home page of myGSK. There you will find everything you need to know about the company’s comprehensive plan to sustain GSK’s supply of critical medicines for patients, and to protect GSK’s employees and their families in the event of a flu pandemic. All flu updates for employees will be posted to this valuable resource, located on the “Flu info source” tab on the Global News gadget in the upper, middle column of myGSK.
All employees should view the “Protect Yourself Learning Module” on the Flu Information Source, and remember that frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the flu.
GSK’s antiviral program
The GSK pandemic preparedness plan provides one course of anti-viral therapy (either Relenza or Tamiflu) to each employee and his/her eligible family members. As a precaution, all countries in the GSK network are continuing to prepare for distribution of these medicines, though most are not dispensing to employees at this time. Mexico and the US are exceptions: we will be dispensing anti-virals to employees in those states in the US where swine flu infections have been confirmed.* If you live in one of these affected states and have registered your prescription with Sav-Rx, you will soon receive your medicine by mail.
Employees will only receive one treatment pack of anti-virals for each individual. You will receive the treatment pack as a precaution; you should not take the medicine unless you think you have the flu. Please read the instructions that come with your treatment pack to determine when it is appropriate for you to take the medicine.
If you have not registered for this program yet, you will first need a prescription from your doctor for each individual. Then go to the Flu Information Source to register your prescription online. Once there, click on the “Country info & other resources” tab and then click on “Obtain your flu medicines” link. Then follow the prompts.
Travel and meeting advice
We’ve asked all business / site leaders to not travel so they can remain in place to manage our pandemic response, given that the situation is rapidly changing. However, the travel guidance issued on 27 April still remains, i.e., travel to Mexico by GSK employees should be limited to business or public health critical reasons, and given the uncertainty of the current situation, GSK employees should give careful consideration as to the need for any travel for business reasons. Employees who feel unwell should not travel. We would like business to continue as usual; however, you should use your best judgment, particularly in those states where flu is circulating. Do not put yourself at risk. In all cases, employees should abide by public health directives in local areas.
Questions or Concerns
If you have any questions regarding GSK’s pandemic planning, please contact the GSK Response Center at 877-329-7264.
Employees should consult the Flu Information Source on myGSK which will be updated regularly, including the FAQ section, and a Contact US area, where specific questions can be directed.
Again, it is time to prepare, not to panic. Our goal is to protect our employees in the event of a pandemic, and to ensure that we can continue to provide critical medicines to patients who depend on us. We will keep you informed as new information becomes available about this public health situation and GSK’s response.
President, North American Pharmaceuticals
* States in which swine flu cases are currently confirmed: Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas.
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