Article Text

Unexpected outcome (positive or negative) including adverse drug reactions
The national pandemic flu service, oseltamivir, and a case of pancreatitis


The recent outbreak of the influenza virus H1N1 continues to pose a serious public health threat at a population wide level. In response to this, the UK National Health Service has made antiviral medication available to the general public in a unique way. Individuals can receive treatment without having to consult a medical practitioner, by simply answering a set of questions online or over the telephone. We present the case of a 65-year-old woman who developed a case of acute pancreatitis shortly after taking oseltamivir. Extensive investigation revealed that she had no risk factors or other identifiable cause for developing pancreatitis, and the possible adverse drug reaction has been reported to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Concerns regarding the strategy to provide antiviral medication to the population using this novel approach are discussed in light of patient safety and implications for health policy.

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