Swine flu is under control, says Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. If the situation warrants, Tamiflu will be allowed for public sale

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said swine flu in the country was under control and there was no need to panic. “We are constantly monitoring the situation. We have enough medicine to treat the disease, while hospitals and laboratories are fully equipped to deal with any eventuality. The rush we see at hospitals is more of a panic reaction,” he said.

Pointing out that the government procured over 1 crore Tamiflu doses, Mr. Azad said they were also considering open sale of this drug. “We have so far not allowed open sale of Tamiflu to stop people from arbitrarily consuming the drug which could lead to people developing immunity, further complicating the situation. If need arises we can allow its open sale. In the next two-three days, we are going to review again. Should the need warrant, it has to be allowed for public consumption,” Mr. Azad said in the Rajya Sabha.

Blaming delay in diagnosis for the death of a girl in Pune, Mr. Azad said: “We managed to identify positive cases from around 7,000 suspects and put them on Tamiflu — otherwise it could have multiplied fast — keeping in mind the highly contagious nature of the dreaded disease. We have already trained doctors at the State-level and instructed States to train doctors at the district level also for tackling the virus.”

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