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PIA Press Release

Tamiflu only given to AH1N1 patients with complications: DOH

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (30 June) -- Department of Health assistant regional director Dr. Salvador Estrerra clarified yesterday that not all patients with A(H1N1) are advised to take in anti-viral drug like the popular Tamiflu, for an instance.

He stressed that only patients having complications like diabetes and heart problems are given this capsule which is sold at P150 each in local stores.

This is in response to the misinformation that the public gets thinking that they need to panic buy such anti-viral drug for future use. This was also believed to be the reason for a triple price surge of Tamiflu from as low as P40 per capsule to its present price.

Estrerra said that DOH XI received 5,000 capsules of Tamiflu to prepare for an increase of AH1N1 cases in the region.

The DOH is providing free capsules for patients infected by the virus strain. The DOH has even shouldered the expenses of cases from testing to hospitalization. It has also purchased and distributed a total of 600,000 Tamiflu capsules nationwide.

"So far, we don't see the need to ask for additional supply because the region only has two cases of the said virus and there is still no reported cases of person-to-person transmission," he said.

Patients who acquired the virus are given two capsules per day which they would take in for seven consecutive days.

Estrerra, however, stressed that with the mild kind of AH1N1 virus that has spread across the country patients may actually take in ordinary drug like paracetamol for fever.

Experts from the health agency also warned the public that anti-flu vaccines sold in the market do not actually protect them from acquiring AH1N1 virus, instead, these merely shield the body from seasonal flu.

Prices of flu shots have also surged high from P500 to P1,800 with the influx of health-conscious consumers wanting to secure themselves from the virus.

A flu vaccine is regularly priced at P500. At present the DOH is not yet ready to provide free vaccination. Instead, it has requested P93.5 million for free vaccination of its employees. (PIA XI) [top]

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