Demand for Tamiflu increases as H1N1 cases rise

With swine flu having made a comeback and already begun to take its casualty toll in Vietnam, demand for Tamiflu has increased greatly.

The management board at the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City spoke on March 13 that the hospital needed more Tamiflu medication in case the flu outbreak re-occurs.

Other hospitals also stated their need to stockpile the drug to treat H1N1 patients.

While hospitals specified their need for the special medicine, the Ministry of Health has not as yet taken a decision on use of the 10 million expired Tamiflu tablets.

They need to decide whether to destroy the tablets altogether or recycle them to draw out the Oseltamivir phosphate.

Four major domestic drug manufacturers and the Ministry had wasted financial resources worth VND562-billion ($28.8 million) in a project to store 20 million capsules of Oseltamivir (aka Tamiflu) in 2005-2006, to fight the avian flu epidemic.

Half of the 10 million tablets made by four pharmaceutical companies, Phu Yen Medical Equipment and Pharmaceutical (Pymepharco), Cuu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Corporation (Pharimexco), Imexpharm Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company and Stada Vietnam Company, have expired though the pharmaceutical companies say that the expiry date can be extended to 2011.

While talking to Sai Gon Giai Phong, medical researchers think that the expired 10 million Tamiflu tablets could be recycled to recover oseltamivir phosphate from them instead of destroying them altogether and wasting precious money.

By Tuong Lam - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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