New Delhi: Tamiflu, the most effective drug against the H1N1 influenza is now available at a chemist near you, but strictly on prescription.
While the ‘not for sale’ tag is out, Tamilfu along with the second line drug Zanamivir or Relenza has been listed under Schedule X of the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 2008.
For you, it will mean that Tamiflu will be available only with 480 select chemists across the country, out of which 30 are from Delhi. To buy Tamiflu you will have to provide three copies of the prescription from a doctor, one will be stamped and returned to you, and the other two will be kept by the retail chemist and the distributor.
The prescription must also clearly contain contact details of the doctor.
The sale of Tamiflu and Relenza will be directly monitored by the respective state drug controllers.
The Government believes the restrictions on the sale of Tamiflu is good because experts worry that easier availability may translate into overuse.
“Over prescription is not correct as we know that these viruses or any bacteria can mutate and develop resistance to the drug,” Dr Suranjit Chatterjee said.
Pharma companies like Ranbaxy, Strides Arcolab and Hetero Drugs will be stockpiling Tamiflu as of now. Ten tablets of Tamiflu will cost Rs 450 and you can buy 20 tablets of Relenza, marketed in India as Virenza by Cipla, for Rs 800.
Relenza is an inhaler drug and cannot be administered to children under the age of seven.