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Updated: October 21, 2009 17:44 IST

Delhiites warned against self-treatment of flu

Bindu Shajan Perappadan
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A mother and child outsidea a N1H1 screening centre in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan
The Hindu
A mother and child outsidea a N1H1 screening centre in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan

Following a warning issued by the US Food and Drug Administration asking consumers to exercise extreme care when purchasing any product over the Internet that claim to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure swine flu, doctors in the Capital too have advocated extreme caution against self-treatment for the disease.

The warning comes after the FDA recently purchased and analysed several products represented online as Oseltamivir (a drug for the treatment of H1N1 influenza) which may pose risks to patients.

“The Delhi Government has allowed retailing of swine flu drugs but these can be bought only on prescription and there is tight government control on selling of these drugs. Buying ‘treatment’ over the Internet, however, is more unregulated and buyers need to exercise extreme caution. The public under no circumstance should attempt self-diagnosis and treatment for swine flu because there is always a danger of developing resistance against the available swine flu drug. Also there is no quality regulation on the drugs available on the Internet,’’ said a senior Union Health Ministry official.

Meanwhile, the Apollo Pharmacy on Tuesday said swine flu medicines would be available at their outlets across the country. It has also launched a helpline to facilitate home delivery of these drugs to swine flu patients.

Apollo Pharmacy has over 1,000 outlets across the country and has recently received a licence from the Drug Controller General of India for retail sale of Oseltamivir.

Apollo Pharmacy director Shobana Kamineni said: “Delhiites can dial 011-41402222 for help. To ensure easy availability of the medicine, Apollo Pharmacy has also introduced the round-the-clock helpline number to assist in home delivery as well as provide relevant information on drug procurement and disease management.’’

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