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Rediff.com  » News » Centre asks states to crackdown on hoarders of Tamiflu, masks

Centre asks states to crackdown on hoarders of Tamiflu, masks

August 12, 2009 20:20 IST
The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday told the state governments to crack down on people hoarding and black-marketing swine flu drug Oseltamivir and masks used as protection against the disease, warning that their "shortage will not be tolerated."

At a meeting with all state Drug Controller Generals, the ministry asked them to identify chemists and persons selling spurious Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) tablets at higher prices even as it sought 2 crore more tablets from drug manufacturers.

"Based on media reports authorities have also carried out raids at certain places," Joint Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Vineet Chaudhry told reporters here.

He said, "We have also asked the states to crack down on people hoarding the N-95 masks used as a prevention against the infection."

However, he clarified that common people do not need to wear N-95 masks and they were only meant for doctors or lab technicians who were treating affected patients or testing samples.

"Shortages will not be tolerated," he said. The ministry also held meetings with drug manufacturers like Ranbaxy, Cipla and Hetero drugs on the procurement of 2 crore more Oseltamivir tablets.

"We already have 7.2 million tablets in banking arrangements with them. Now we have sought 1.2 crore additional tablets," he added.

Drug Controller General of India Surinder Singh said within a couple of weeks, the number of Tamiflu tablets in store would be 3 crore.

Chaudhry said the government has worked out a delivery schedule for all the drug manufacturers. On allowing private labs to test for swine flu, he said the Centre has already issued guidelines for them to follow and they were free to do so.

The senior official said that the ministry has taken various steps to ensure that testing centres and designated hospitals are not overcrowded. Citing an example, he said the Ministry has asked the Delhi government to bring out ads saying that residents should go to nearby identified hospitals and not throng a single centre like the RML hospital.

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