Tamiflu is in Short Supply in Some Parts of U.S.
According to Sarah Clark-Lynn, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration,the drug Tamiflu in liquid form is in short supply “due to recent increased demand.” According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, most of the U.S. is in a moderately severe flu season. The percentage of people looking for health care providers has increased for four consecutive weeks by 5.6%.
"We are hearing of spot shortages. Given the time in our flu season, it isn't surprising. People who haven't been vaccinated and want to get the vaccine may have to look in several places for it," CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said on Thursday.
Tamiflu, a prescription drug manufactured by Genentech in San Francisco, is used against the flu virus to decrease the severity of flu in adults, children and infants. It should be administered within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms to be effective. It is available in the solid as well as liquid form, so that the people, who are unable to swallow pills, can easily take the liquid form.
"We are seeing intermittent shortages at some stores in some areas," CVS Pharmacy spokesman Mike DeAngelis said from the company's Woonsocket, R.I., headquarters, in a statement. "It's a combination of the fact that the supplier has had an issue with getting enough liquid Tamiflu in the market and the demand caused by the early influenza season."
"If a particular CVS pharmacy does not have the liquid in stock and is not able to get it from a nearby store, our pharmacists can compound the capsules, which are still in ample supple, into the liquid form," DeAngelis said. Compounding liquid form of Tamiflu is easy. "Basically, the capsules are emptied out and the contents combined with Ora-Sweet to make a liquid suspension," DeAngelis added.
Canada has released the supply of liquid Tamiflu from its National Emergency Stockpile to cover up the potential shortage.
"We are also working with the company to increase supplies," FDA spokeswoman Sarah Clark-Lynn said.
Shortages of Tamiflu also occurred in 2011 and during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.