• 2009 Pandemic;
  • antivirals;
  • influenza

The World Health Organization's declaration of an imminent swine-origin influenza A pandemic in April 2009 triggered the global launch of national pandemic preparedness plans. An integral component of pandemic preparedness in many countries was the targeted use of antiviral therapy for containment, disease mitigation, and treatment. The 2009 pandemic marked the first pandemic during which influenza antivirals were available for global use. Although most national pandemic plans included provisions for antiviral treatment, these pre-determined protocols required frequent updating as more information became available about the virus, and its susceptibility to antiviral agents, the epidemiology of infection, and the population groups that were most susceptible to severe disease. National public health agencies in countries with both plans for use of antivirals and pre-existing stockpiles, including those in Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, operated distinctly different antiviral distribution and treatment programs from one another. In the 3 years following the pandemic, there is still little comparison of the diversity of national antiviral treatment policies and drug distribution mechanisms that were implemented, whether they had any mitigating effects and which might be most efficient. The purpose of this study is to outline roles of antiviral medicines in a pandemic period, provide insights into the diversity of antiviral treatment and distribution policies applied by selected countries between April 2009–July 2010, and to stimulate discussion on whether these policies remain appropriate for implementation in future pandemics.