States told to crack down on Tamiflu hoarders

The Union Health Ministry has asked the state governments to ensure that there is no hoarding and black marketing of Tamiflu and protective masks. The ministry has warned the states that shortage would not be tolerated.

The direction came following reports that some private chemists were selling spurious Tamiflu and even hoarding smuggled drugs.

At a meeting with all state Drug Controller Generals, the ministry asked them to identify chemists and people selling spurious Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) tablets at higher prices.

"Based on media reports, authorities have also carried out raids at certain places," said Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Vineet Chaudhry. "We have also asked the states to crack down on people hoarding N-95 masks."

He, however, clarified that common people need not wear N-95 masks as they were only meant for doctors or lab technicians who were treating affected patients or testing samples.

The ministry also held meetings with drug manufacturers like Ranbaxy, Cipla and Hetero drugs on the procurement of two crore more Oseltamivir tablets. "We already have 7.2 million tablets in banking arrangements with them. Now we have sought 1.2 crore additional tablets," Chaudhry added.

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