Medico body cries shortage of ‘anti swine flu drugs’

Srinagar: Medico body Doctor’s Association of Kashmir (DAK), Wednesday said that Valley hospitals are faced with shortage of anti swine-flu drugs. The association said that apart from SKIMS and SMHS which is having a limited stock of about 1500 tablets meant to cure swine-flu, rest of the hospitals in Kashmir are facing a total scarcity of such drugs.

DAK expressed concerns over non-availability of swine flu medicines at chemist shops and hospitals in Kashmir, with President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan saying “lack of medicines to treat swine flu is putting lives of patients at serious risk.”

“Although SKIMS and SMHS hospitals have a limited stock of Oseltamivir tablets for adults, no liquid for paediatric use is available; he said adding there is no inhalational Zanamavir available which in certain situations is life-saving,” DAK statement said.

“There is scarcity of swine-flu drugs in Kashmir, which is putting lives of patients on great risk,” Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan said while talking to Kashmir Vision.  He also alleged that such drugs are not easily available in the market, although, Union Health Ministry has placed them under schedule H1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, which means all drug stores can sell them, “earlier, these drugs belonged to schedule X category that required a special license to stock them,” he said.

When contacted Medical Superintended, SMHS Dr Muhammad Saleem Tak refuted the statement issued by DAK saying that adequate supply of all the drugs used to treat swine-flu are available at the hospital.

“There is no scarcity of such drugs at the hospital, whenever such a case was reported the patient was cured well,” he said.

DAK President also said that such drugs are not available in the market, and according to him the Government has failed to create awareness about the change in directives, putting such drugs in H1 category, enabling chemists to sell such drugs without having any special license, “one of the main reasons of chemists not to keep these drugs available is “lack of “awareness” about this directive,” he said.

When contacted Assistant Drug Controller, Pervaiz Ahmad said that such drugs are available in the market, and are provided as per the demand, “you tell me how much do you want, the stocks are lying with us,” he said, adding “the thing is that such drugs are not supplied in a way other drugs are, if there is a need, we are providing the same.” He however, refused to comment on the availability of such drugs at government hospitals.

Dr Nisar, also alleged that the stocks lying with Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited are not fresh and are as old as one year, “there may be stocks lying with them, but the thing is that the stock year old and have been purchased last year,” he said.

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