Swine flu outbreak in India bumps demand for generic therapies

SINGAPORE--An outbreak of the H1N1A influenza--once known as "swine flu"--has led to a run on generic drugs relied on for treatment, prompting the government to urge local makers to step up production.

Cipla, Hetero, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab were among drug makers that received letters from the government telling them to maintain their supplies of oseltamivir, zanamivir and rimantadine, all in short supply, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority said.

The NPPA said several states were reporting shortages at the retail level as the virus claimed at least 485 lives just since the start of this year, nearly 300 in this month alone. Also since Jan. 1, the health ministry said, 6,298 lab cases have been confirmed.

The drugs are being prescribed by physicians as soon as the first symptoms of the disease are spotted. But one ministry official cautioned that although the outbreak and shortage were a cause of worry, they were not a cause for panic.

- here's what the Times of India had to say
- read what the Daily Star reported here
- here's DNA India's take

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