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Gosine: Anyone can buy swine flu vaccine

Sunday, January 10 2016

An open market system, driven by supply and demand factors, has been identified as the governing factors behind private medical clinics and institutions being able to sell medicinal supplies and vaccines at exorbitant prices.

That’s the view of SWRHA chief executive officer, Anil Gosine, who, yesterday observed that while public health institutions depended on their allocation of vaccines for the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus from the Ministry of Health, private institutions could purchase their supplies from external suppliers.

“We get our supplies from the Ministry of Health who gets them from PAHO and which would then be distributed to the various Regional Health Authorities,” he told Sunday Newsday.

The issue arose following reports that Sureway Ltd is selling the H1N1 vaccine for $700, amid a supply shortage at public institutions which are awaiting delivery of more than 20,000 vaccines in the coming days.

Gosine noted medical supplies can be sourced on the open market by private institutions which are able to set any price to the product as there were no price controls governing medicines.

“It’s really up to the consumer whether they want to purchase the product or not,” he said.

An online search for medicinal distributors revealed supplies could be sourced from distributors as far as India for medicines such as HIV drugs, antibiotics, antiviral agents, chicken pox and H1N1 vaccines.

Regarding its supply, Gosine said San Fernando General Hospital still had a H1N1 vaccines which were being administered to medical and nursing personnel as well as to those patients who had been deemed as “high risk’ including pregnant mothers, the elderly and young children.

Health Minister Dr Terrence Deyalsingh last Friday disclosed deaths due to H1N1 now number five after the death of a 66-year-old male patient at Sangre Grande Regional Hospital that day, and the number of recorded cases is now 46.



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