Sufficient stock of swine flu drugs in Maharashtra: FDA chief

 Hospitals in Maharashtra, both government and semi-government, have sufficient stock of swine flu drugs which are available for free, said Harshadeep Kamble, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, here on Saturday.

PTI| Updated: Feb 21, 2015, 21:23 PM IST

Mumbai: Hospitals in Maharashtra, both government and semi-government, have sufficient stock of swine flu drugs which are available for free, said Harshadeep Kamble, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, here on Saturday.

While talking to reporters after a meeting with the representatives of Associations of Wholesale and Retail Chemists, he said that the chemists had been asked to keep these medicines in stock.

"Considering the seriousness of swine flu in Maharashtra, we have taken certain steps. There are about 1,191 retailers and wholesalers who have the permission to stock and sell medicines for swine flu.

"All these licensees should invariably keep the medicines in stock. The list of these 1,191 licensees is uploaded on the website 'xlnindia.Gov.In'," he said.

Kamble had told the Retailers and Dispensing Chemists Association, Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association and Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association to ask their members to coordinate with the district-level FDA officers to make the medicines available.

The representatives of the associations assured full cooperation, he said.

Kamble said he had also directed all the joint commissioners at the divisional level to give necessary licences for stocking the swine flu drugs to the hospitals holding a general drug licence.

Swine flu has claimed 88 lives in Maharashtra since January 1.

"The drugs used in treatment of swine flu are covered under schedule X of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945 and separate license is required to sell them....Hence these drugs are not available in all medical stores," the FDA commissioner said.

Mumbai has 340 while Thane, Pune and Nagpur have 269, 202, 85 chemists respectively who have this license.

The list of medical stores holding license to stock schedule X drug is also displayed on fda.Maharashtra.Gov.In.

However, Kamble also said that swine flu drugs can be bought only with a doctor's prescription. "All the doctors are requested to write the prescriptions in generic names also. Self-medication and unnecessary use of swine flu drugs may cause drug resistance," the FDA chief warned.

"If patients find it difficult to procure these drugs, they may contact FDA Maharashtra, on helpline 1800222365 to get the information about availability in nearby medical stores," Kamble said.

In Thane and Palghar districts neighbouring Mumbai, a

total of five persons have lost their lives to H1N1 virus while 55 people have tested positive for the strain since January 1 this year, said Assistant Director of Health Services (Konkan division) Dr K R Kharat.

Of the five, two persons were from Thane city, one each from Badlapur and Kalyan in the district while one was from Palghar district.

Incidentally, all these victims are women in the age group of 30-60, said Kharat in a joint press conference with Thane district health officer Dr B S Sonawane and assistant civil surgeon Dr R I Rathod.

As per the officials, both the districts are fully equipped in terms of facilities and medicines.

A total of 21 isolation wards are created in both the districts and sufficient stock of Tamiflu capsules at 87,000 is also available, apart from the buffer stock of the medicine.

They said as many as 576 private practitioners would be trained to offer treatment to swine flu patients.