H1N1 cases continued to soar in Mumbai, India, with another 19 people testing positive in the last 24 hours. 58-year-old Nashik resident was the tenth victim to die of swine flu in the city hospital in Parel.
The victim had underlying ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic liver disease that added to the complications and eventually died of cardio respiratory arrest. The deceased he had undergone treatment at his native place for few days following the onset on the disease and was shifted to the Parel hospital on February 13.
The virus has claimed 79 lives across the state and the badly affected regions are Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur and Pune.
Dr Deepak Sawant, public health minister said, "We have spoken to SRL Limited, which is the only accredited private laboratory in the state, to carry out the test. They have agreed in principle to slash rates from Rs 5,000."
Epidemiologist Dr Mangala Gomare confirmed that at the civic-run laboratory in Mumbai, patients are not charged anything unless samples come from a private lab; Rs 4,000 is charged for those samples. A proposal has been tabled to reduce that price as well.
There has been complaints around the state that patients are finding it difficult to procure Oseltamivir capsules.
"I spent a day looking for the drug and finally found it with a Thane distributor. It has happened with many people, as there is no clarity where the drug is available. I also went to Kasturba Hospital with the prescription but was refused the drug" complained, Omkar Shah as he scuttled around four South Mumbai hospitals only to find the drug in a Thane shop. He added that awareness has to be created even among doctors that they need to write three prescriptions.
The Food and Drug Administration said there was enough supply of Oseltamivir with drug distributors. "There is no dearth of medicines. We are only trying to regulate its use," said O P Sadhwani, joint commissioner, FDA.