No shortage of swine flu drugs: Pharma firms

  • Sanchita Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2015 22:58 IST

Pharma majors assured the Centre there will be no swine flu drugs and vaccine shortages as they have the raw material and capacity to ramp up production, should the need arise. The Union health ministry met pharmaceutical majors on Thursday night to review drugs and medicine stocks even as India reported more than 800 new cases and 32 deaths over the past 24 hours, shows data till February 19.

There were three deaths in Delhi on Friday, taking the swine flu toll to nine. The national data is till Thursday, Feb 19.

India's swine flu tally now stands at 11,955 cases and 743 deaths, sparking fears of drug and vaccine shortages in some states.

"There is no question of shortages. Hetero Drugs has ample stock of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) needed to manufacture more than 4 lakh paediatric doses and unlimited amounts of adult capsules of oseltamivir within a month," says Ram Babu, senior manager (Delhi operations), who attended the meet on behalf of Hetero Drugs. The Centre has already purchased 1 lakh capsules of oseltamivir from Hetero.

Stride Arcolab has 60 lakh oseltamivir tablets in stock and the API and capacity to manufacture as many more in a month. Sanofi Pasteur has one lakh H1N1 vaccines in stock.

Treatment with oseltamivir shortens the duration and severity of illness and makes the infected person less contagious.

Rajasthan remains the worst hit state, reporting 249 cases and 11 deaths on February 19, followed by Gujarat with 180 cases and nine deaths. Delhi reported 136 new cases, but no deaths.

Despite its high population, Bihar has reported no cases or deaths this year.

Most cases are being reported from urban areas and states where public awareness is higher. In most states, deaths have been among people older than 40 years. The virus shows no gender bias and affects men and women alike.

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