Government allows retail sale of swine flu drug oseltamivir

Government allows retail sale of swine flu drug oseltamivir

New Delhi: The government cleared a notification allowing the retail sale of antiviral drug oseltamivir from Wednesday, a health ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The notification, approved on Tuesday, allows the restricted sale of the drug, which is used to treat A/H1N1 flu, more commonly known as swine flu.

Also Read Centre approves restricted retail sale of Tamiflu

“The notification will be out by Wednesday, which means companies can begin selling the drug immediately," said the same official.

Mint had reported on 28 August that the Centre would allow the retail sale of oseltamivir, the generic version of Roche’s Tamiflu, from the second week of September under Schedule X. The move got delayed because health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was out of the country.

The drug will be available in the market only 48 hours after the notification is released.

“We will be able to make the drug available from Friday, once it passes through the distribution channels. It will be priced at about Rs470 for a strip of 10 tablets," said Srinivas Reddy, director (marketing), Hetero Drugs.

Besides Hetero, companies that will be able to launch their versions of the drug are Cipla, Ranbaxy and Strides Arcolab. Others that want to manufacture and market the drug will be able to do so after receiving regulatory approval.

Currently 483 chemists have permission to sell drugs that fall in the Schedule X category. However, more can apply for the licence.

As of 15 September, a total of 201 people have died of A/H1N1 and 6,588 people have tested positive in India.