Colorado prepared for pandemic, sort of | AspenTimes.com

Colorado prepared for pandemic, sort of

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” A national report issued Tuesday gave Colorado a score of nine out of 10 on preparedness for a public health emergency.

But the report by the Trust For America’s Health said Colorado is one of only seven states that haven’t stockpiled antiviral drugs in case of a flu pandemic.

Dr. Ned Colange, the state health department’s chief medical officer, said the federal government has stored enough antiviral drugs to protect Coloradans who would be vulnerable in a pandemic.

“The metric was did we purchase any additional antivirals for state stockpiling in addition to the strategic national stockpile,” he said. “So the strategic national stockpile for Colorado is about 678,000 courses of antivirals. And that actually is enough to pay for all of the high-risk people who get the flu.”

Colange said buying up drugs can be a waste of money because antivirals have a shelf life of about five years.

“We’re really talking about using precious state resources to pay for a drug of really uncertain benefit that would be used to address an event of uncertain timing and uncertain severity,” he said.

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Instead, the state has focused its resources on preventing death during a pandemic with solutions that do not involve drugs, such as separating the sick. He said those techniques are recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Colorado met the report’s other nine indicators, ranging from emergency plans for distributing medicine to spending on public health.

Last year, Colorado scored six out of nine on the report, but the indicators were different.