Swine flu scare: As death toll constantly rises, chemists report shortage of medicines


Chemists are reporting a shortage of swine flu medication at a time when 39 people have died in the country over the last 24 hours and 624 people have lost their lives due to the deadly H1N1 virus in less than two months. However, the government is claiming that there are ample stocks of medicines.

According to sources, the government has made Tamiflu accessible to over 10,000 licensed chemists across the country. Government sources said Health Minister JP Nadda held a high-level review meeting which was attended by health secretaries and drug control panel officials. The Centre will run online awareness drives as well, the sources said.

The chemist shops outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, rue that they have fallen short of swine flu drugs. They grudge that syrup to treat swine flu has not been available for five days now and there is a shortage of vaccines to treat swine flu.

“The demand for medication has increased by 10 to 20 times and we do not deal with government but we deal directly with distributors. We are facing shortage of medicines at distributor level,” said one of them.

However, RML Hospital’s medical superintendent has denied reports of shortage of Tamiflu.

The Delhi government claims they have authorised 25 hospitals – including seven private hospitals – to treat the flu. Most government hospitals including RML have created an isolation ward for patients, 20-25 beds reserved for patients.

There have been 624 deaths and over 9000 cases have been reported countrywide, including seven deaths from Delhi.

In Gujarat, 150 people have succumbed to the virus while 176 people have died in Rajasthan. In Telangana 46 deaths have been reported while in Maharashtra 58 deaths have been reported. One person has died in Srinagar too.

The sources said the Health Minster is taking daily review meetings. Tamiflu has now been declared a schedule X drug. Hence, around 10,000 chemists across the country will be able to sell the drug.