Liquid Tamiflu Price Probe Has Chains Charging Less

Investigations into price gouging for liquid Tamiflu have yielded lowered prices for the drug formulation by 2 major pharmacy chains. As amounts of the children’s formulation of Tamiflu became more and more scarce, causing pharmacists to compound it from the capsule form, a number of pharmacies increased their prices.

A survey conducted last month by

USA Today

brought the issue to light, finding liquid Tamiflu prices ranging from $43 to $130 for the same dosage at 100 pharmacies across 6 US states. Soon after, Senator Chris Dodd (D, CT) urged Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and US Attorney General Eric Holder to look into the matter, while House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D, CA) asked state attorneys general to investigate the issue.

“For someone to exploit this public health challenge for their own gain would be unconscionable,” Waxman said.

On November 23, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent investigative letters November 23 to 3 major pharmacy chains, 2 of which have now decreased their prices by 10% to 20%, according to reports.

“I’m delighted they are reducing their prices, but they may have an obligation to reduce them even further,” said Blumenthal.

According to Blumenthal, investigators in Connecticut also will be fixing their gaze on independent pharmacies to determine whether price gouging is a problem.

In Michigan, Attorney General Mike Cox conducted an undercover survey of 50 pharmacies in 5 cities throughout the state, revealing that prices for the same 30-mg dosage of liquid Tamiflu ranged from $28 to $140.

Mississippi’s attorney general also is investigating the issue.

Allegations of price gouging may not take into account the additional time required to compound the drug, which involves establishing dosages based on a child’s weight, as well as the syrup used in compounding. National Association of Chain Drug Stores spokesperson Chrissy Kopple reportedly told

USA Today

that prices for liquid Tamiflu can vary due to issues with the supply chain, wholesale pricing, and regional differences in business costs.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Swine Flu Cases Wane, But Officials Urge Vigilance

Help Patients Not Let Heartburn Wreak Havoc on Holidays

No Wind, No Rain Can Stop KY Folks from Getting Meds

Emergency Contraception Spikes After New Year’s Eve