SINGAPORE--India health authorities have threatened to close pharmacies in the country that fail to maintain an adequate supply of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or its generics to treat an outbreak of H1N1 influenza that has claimed at least 624 lives this year.
As the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) issued the warning, some experts predicted that the recent outbreak was probably on the wane and would be over in less than two weeks as the weather changes. "Swine flu" is known to thrive in cold weather, and India's weather has been warming as spring approaches.
The DCGI issued its supply warning to the All-India Chemists and Druggists Association, saying its members could lose their licenses or face suspension. At the same time, the agency was ordered by another health agency to issue 10,000 more licenses so more pharmacists could supply the drug. Only 2,500 were licensed to sell the drug at the start of the outbreak at the first of the year.
The DCGI also said it has contacted India drugmakers that produce the generics to ensure a steady supply as the number of qualifying pharmacies expands.