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DCGI to hold meet to address sudden spurt in Swine Flu cases in the country

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Friday, February 13, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is planning to hold a meeting next week on regulations related to the sale and stocking of antiviral medicine, Oseltamivir for swine flu and its reported shortage in retail drug stores in some parts of the country as also issues related to its irrational usage among other pertinent issues, according to a source.

The generic medicine Oseltamivir, available for swine flu currently manufactured and marketed by a few companies, is a Schedule X drug.

The meeting will also discuss whether there are other alternatives to the medicine Oseltamivir available for swine flu to address issues related to its shortage and also monitoring efficacy of other alternative drugs to contain spread of H1N1 in the Indian population considering the sudden spurt in cases this year.

As many as 40 people have died and 239 have been hit with the deadly virus in Maharashtra alone so far. In Mumbai, 76 cases have been detected out of which 6 have succumbed to the H1NI1 virus from outside the city. No deaths have been reported from the city.

Stockists and retailers in Mumbai also rue that the city has very few distributors licenced to supply the Schedule X prescription drug. State Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, says that there is no need to issue fresh licences as supply can be maintained with the help of existing licenced stockists.

According to the state health department officials, there is no shortage in Oseltamivir stocks with BMC and the state health department. A chemist said that the shortage had been brought about by the stipulation that hospitals receiving swine flu patients must put their staff on a preventive dosage. Over 10 lakh Oseltamivir medicines are currently available, as per official sources.

Meanwhile, the Union health ministry has also placed an order for enhancing stock of diagnostic kits to be supplied to the lab network under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) being used for testing H1N1 influenza. To enhance the level of preparedness, additional 60,000 Oseltamivir medicines and 10,000 N-95 masks are being procured.

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has also floated a tender for additional 10,000 diagnostic kits. In case of need, labs under Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have been identified across the country to provide additional testing facilities.

According to official sources, during the period 1 January 2015 to 10 February 2015, the total number of H1N1 cases is 5157 and number of deaths is 407. Largely cases detected are from Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and deaths due to H1N1 have been reported in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana.


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