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Swine Flu Kills 6 in Armenia, Hundreds Hospitalized

In late 2015 – early 2016, a total of 6 people have died as a result of the rapid swine flu outbreak in Armenia, deputy health minister Vahan Poghosyan told reporters Monday, January 11. 

The official, however, insisted that there is still no H1N1 epidemic in Armenia. Urging citizens to not panic and remain vigilant, Poghosyan added that in the event of any health problems people should seek immediate medical advice to avoid further complications. 

As regards the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, the deputy minister stated that it was not to be taken without a prescription: the drug is envisaged for the treatment of an already existing disease and has no preventive effects on swine flu. 

In an answer to the reporters' inquiry on the rapid increase in drug prices in Armenia, Poghosyan replied; “Firstly, the use of [unprescribed] Tamiflu is prohibited, and it's been allocated to hospitals. Besides, there are a number of alternative medications to this drug.

“As for the rise in drug prices, I can assure you that we have already applied to the Commission for Protection of Economic Competition in order to prevent some businessmen from attempting to exploit the situation by raising the prices for their products in drugstores. Tamiflu is imported to Armenia by 3 companies, so there is competition.”

The ministry official added that more than 650 people, most of them children, have been hospitalized in the country with acute respiratory diseases since the beginning of the year. Poghosyan said that 219 of them have been diagnosed with pneumonia.

“As of [Monday], there are 77 patients in intensive care across the country; 4 of them are confirmed cases of swine flu,” the deputy minister stated.