'Govt may soon allow open sale of Swine flu drug'

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Sale of Oseltamivir or Tamiflu
New Delhi, Aug 10: With the Swine Flu virus raging across the country, the government may be forced to sell the anti-viral drug Oseltamivir (Trade name: Tamiflu) through private hospitals and retail sales, an anonymous health ministry official reportedly said.

This move that comes after the government let private laboratories with high level of bio-safety to conduct Swine Flu tests along with accrediting private hospitals to treat patients. 11 private hospitals in Bangalore have already been accredited, and other states are expected to do the same soon.

The step was taken so as to relieve the government hospitals that are being flooded with the panicked people for tests after the deaths and the sudden surge in the number of cases.

When it comes to drugs, the government restricts the sale of Oseltamivir in the open market and in private hospitals by pharmacies. The drugmakers and the importers are allowed to either sell it to government hospitals or directly to the government.

Swine Flu: Full Coverage

However, the government may soon have to allow vaccines for Swine Flu in the market as the number of people testing positive for the Influenza A (H1N1) rapidly surges.

"Since many people are visiting private hospitals, we are planning to enable them to treat patients in case of emergency. We are discussing the issue with experts and may soon allow the sale of the drug through private hospitals for the time being," the official was quoted as saying in Economic Times report.

"If there is an emergency in the country and WHO recommends relaxing clinical trial norms to launch the vaccine, we may consider that," the official added.

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