Magazine article Drug Topics

Were Reports of Cipro Hoarding Media Hype?

Magazine article Drug Topics

Were Reports of Cipro Hoarding Media Hype?

Article excerpt

Fears that terrorists might unleash anthrax in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks pushed nervous Nellies to stock up on Cipro, according to media reports. But some in pharmacy wonder whether the reporters weren't overreacting.

Already spooked by the massive destruction and loss of life at the World Trade Center, people frightened by the specter of anthrax deluged pharmacies with prescriptions for Cipro (ciprofloxacin HCl, Bayer Corp.), according to media reports. The antibiotic is the only Food & Drug Administration-approved agent indicated for the noncontagious bacterial disease, which is fatal if not treated promptly after inhalation of the spores. Treatment calls for 500 mg b.i.d. for 60 days.

"It was media hype, all media hype," said Jim Schiffer, R.Ph., of Jim & Phil's Family Pharmacy in Brooklyn, who is chairman of the New York City Pharmacists Society. "After the television news reports, there was interest in Cipro, but nobody wanted to pay out of pocket for it. It takes a twomonth supply [to treat anthrax], and that's going to cost quite a bit of money."

Don't tell Gary Halpren, R.Ph., that it's just another media feeding frenzy. He's filled lots of Cipro scripts at Caligor Pharmacy in Manhattan and fielded lots of phone calls from reporters. "One large corporation just bought 16 bottles of 100 tablets," he said. "People are panicking. Many are paying cash. If you read the literature, there's no guarantee it will work. But people think that if you take a pill, you're protected. …

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