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Retail sale of Tamiflu limited Retail sale of Tamiflu limited

Only 200 strips sold throughout the State

IT has been a month since the Union government allowed the sale of Oseltamivir, commonly known as Tamiflu and the only drug presently used to treat H1N1 Influenza, over the counter in retail chemist and druggist stores across the country.

 In fact, 66 licensed retail chemist stores selling schedule ‘X’, under which Oseltamivir has been included, were identified to sell the anti-viral drug in the State.

However, it seems that the idea has not caught up with the public. The fortnightly reports received by the State Drug Controller regarding the sale of Oseltamivir states that only around 200 strips (each strip containing 10 capsules) have been sold throughout the State.

 In comparison, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) administered around 4,500 tablets and Victoria Hospital about 3,500 in the last one month in the City alone.
According to Dr B R Jagashetty, State Drug Controller, the sales of Oseltamivir in retail outlets are few. One of the reasons he attributed for this was the availability of the high stock of anti-viral capsules in hospitals, which were also free of cost. Another reason for the private sales not being that great was because the high cost of the medicine. “Only the rich have access. The poor patients cannot afford it,” he said.  

Currently, the Oseltamivir stock in the retail outlets are supplied by two pharmaceutical companies – NATCO Pharma Ltd and Strides Arcolab Limited in the State and the drug is priced at Rs 480 and Rs 438. 

Irrespective of the reasons, it seems that people have much more faith in government hospital then administering the dose on the prescription of their local physicians.

(Published in Deccan Herald)

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