Pharmacies Nationwide Seeing Tamiflu Shortages

Pharmacies across the country are seeing a shortage in a product many patients use as a defense against the flu.

Pharmacies across the country are seeing a shortage in a product many patients use as a defense against the flu.

Tamiflu shortages were reported in the Washington, DC, area, according to WJLA, and pharmacy representatives were recommending calling ahead to see if the product was in stock.

One pharmacist told WJLA that her pharmacy made sure it had plenty of Tamiflu as soon as it was reported that the virus had mutated, making the vaccine less effective this year.

Pittsburgh, PA, pharmacies are also seeing a dearth of the flu fighter. CBS Pittsburgh spoke to a pharmacist who said a customer had called 9 different pharmacies before finding a pharmacy that had Tamiflu in stock.

A Fox8 station in Baton Rouge, LA, reported local doctors are now being advised to prescribe Tamiflu only to the sickest and highest-risk patients because of the shortage and also because it is early in the season still.

An NBC station in Texas reported some pharmacies in North Texas were seeing temporary shortages of Tamiflu in the liquid form, as well.

Raleigh, NC’s ABC11, mentioning a shortage at many pharmacies, also noted that the state had seen 8 flu-related deaths and a rise in visits to the ER because of the virus.

Bloomberg reported the United States is on the road to seeing “epidemic” levels of the flu this season. Bloomberg also noted that the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists placed Tamiflu on its shortage list on December 22, 2014.

In early December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned this flu season could be severe. While the vaccine’s ability to protect against the virus is reduced this year, the CDC reminded the public that the vaccine can still make symptoms milder.

“Vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses in past seasons,” said Joseph Bresee, MD, chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, in a CDC press release. “Also, vaccination will offer protection against other flu viruses that may become more common later in the season.”