Gurgaon: A section of private doctors in Haryana has accused the state health department of discouraging laboratory tests for swine flu with a view to reducing the burden on government labs and downplay the number of swine flu cases in the state.
The doctors say that without a proper test, diagnosis or treatment of flu patient as H1N1 virus-affected was not only unscientific but also dangerous for the patient.
The state health department recently issued a public advisory and special guidelines to doctors in a meeting with the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
The government categorised swine flu in three stages while suggesting that there was no requirement of test on stage one or two for patients. Only serious patients reaching stage three needed to be tested for H1N1, as per the advisory.
The department, however, asked that Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug, be provided to all suspected patients without tests.
The doctors pointed out that the symptoms in category B of swine flu may be similar to other kinds of flu as well. But in such cases, prescribing Tamiflu without test may lead to people developing resistance towards the medicine, which is the only weapon against swine flu.
The department recently delisted the respected Dr Lal Path Labs that was earlier recognised by the government for swine flu tests.
Private labs have also been banned from providing number of positive swine flu cases to the public or talk about the cases they are handling.
"The actual number is much higher than what the state claims. The government is either underestimating the situation or just down-playing swine flu," Suman Yadav, Indian Medical Association (IMA) district president, told IANS.
However, Kuldeep Singh, president of the Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMSA), told IANS: "Private sector has been creating panic in the society just to exploit the situation to make more money.
"Public advisory issued has been in the wide interest of people. 'Agents' of big private hospitals will force a normal flu patient to go through costly swine flu test."
He said no private lab in Haryana was now permitted to test for H1N1. Only the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reports are deemed authentic, he added.
According to official statistics, 17 people have died in Haryana due to swine flu this year.