Government calls for action against hoarders of masks, TamifluAugust 12th, 2009 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The central government Wednesday asked the states to take strict action against those hoarding masks and illegally selling Tamiflu, an anti-influenza drug, as swine flu claimed seven more lives to take India’s toll to 17.
Joint Secretary (Health) Vineet Chawdhry said there was no need for all to wear an N95 masks, which is only for those who are either visiting a testing centre or are affected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus.
“We have heard that chemists are stocking Tamiflu. It is currently not allowed to be sold on retail. These people are selling it at higher prices,” Chawdhry said, adding that authorities have carried out raids following such reports.
Chawdhry was speaking to reporters after a meeting with state drug controller generals and drug manufacturers at the ministry headquarters here.
“It is necessary for state drug controllers to monitor and keep a vigil that no unauthorised stock appears in the market,” he added.
He said there have been reports that chemists were hoarding masks and selling these at exorbitant prices. “We have heard that public is not getting these masks and that are being hoarded and sold at higher prices,” he said.
“It is necessary to emphasise at this point that shortages would not be tolerated. The state governments have to come with a heavy hand on all those hoarders and black-marketers. This is a public health emergency crisis in the country. Citizens from all walks of life have to coperate,” he added.
Chawdhry noted the shortage of N95 masks has been reported and said tehse kind of masks are not recommended for all people.
“Anyone (doctor) who is recommending it is doing a great disservice. These masks have to be used only by those who are at risk during testing or collecting (of report) or during treatment. It is not for general public,” he said.
The official said even at the international airports, doctors and paramedical use only three-layered surgical masks. “It is cheap and available in the market,” he added.
Chawdhry said the ministry officials met representatives from pharmaceutical companies like Roche, Cipla and Ranbaxy.
The country has a total stock of 10 million Tamiflu capsules and the ministry has distributed two-thirds of it to various states.
“We would be buying 20 million Tamiflu capsules more from them. We already have made banking arrangements for 7.2 million Tamiflu tablets,” he added.
“We have discussed this with all manufacturers and pharma companies. We have worked out a delivery schedule that will ensure that the Tamiflu stockpile increases. These capsules will have a shelf life of four to five years.”
“We want to have a stock of 30 million that could treat 3 million people at any point of time,” he added.
Chawdhry said the authorities will come out with advertisements Thursday about guidelines that needed to be fulfilled by private hospitals before they start treating swine flu patients.
- Masks only for those with H1N1 symptoms, not for everyone (Lead) - Aug 13, 2009
- Masks only for people with H1N1 symptoms: Azad - Aug 13, 2009
- 'India shouldn't sell Tamiflu in open market' - Aug 09, 2009
- Six more die of swine flu, India toll climbs to 17 (Roundup) - Aug 12, 2009
- India prepared to tackle swine flu, no case yet: officials (Lead) - May 01, 2009
- Pune faces shortage of masks: Kalmadi - Aug 14, 2009
- Don't want repeat of Pune swine flu death: Health ministry - Aug 04, 2009
- Swine flu may become resistant to Tamiflu - Mar 02, 2010
- Delhi almost swine flu-free, but monsoon could spell trouble - Jun 30, 2010
- 1.25 mn capsules of new swine flu drug enter Indian market - Sep 25, 2009
- '2009 swine flu pandemic won't return to Maharashtra' - Apr 04, 2012
- Swine flu causes panic buying of masks in Delhi - Aug 11, 2009
- 16th swine flu case; India says no need to worry (Roundup) - Jun 12, 2009
- Pandemic flu virus may become resistant to Tamiflu - Mar 02, 2010
- India intensifies flu surveillance, five more suspected cases - May 04, 2009
Tags: central government, disservice, drug manufacturers, emergency crisis, exorbitant prices, heavy hand, hoarders, hoarding, influenza drug, international airports, ministry headquarters, n95 masks, paramedical, public health emergency, state governments, strict action, swine flu, tamiflu, vineet, walks of life