16 Jun 2010

Swine flu planning not wasted, says director

11:16 am on 16 June 2010

The Director of Public Health is defending the handling of the swine flu pandemic, despite a critical article by a leading medical journal.

The British Medical Journal has criticised the World Health Organisation (WHO) for relying on advice from drug companies, saying global plans to control the flu were largely a waste of money.

Anti-flu drugs stockpiled by the Health Ministry last year are now being given away for free.

New Zealand's Director of Public Health, Mark Jacobs, says that

WHO did a good job, and that he's comfortable with New Zealand's response.

Mr Jacobs says the drugs were also purchased against the backdrop of fears over bird flu, which remains a concern, because people are still getting bird flu overseas.

"A lot of the actual investments weren't just in things like Tamiflu," he says. "They were in better planning, not just in our sector but in other sectors. That has proven to be useful and it will prove to be useful in the future."