Shortage of Tamiflu? Here's what to do.

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - It may be harder to find Tamiflu in the coming weeks. That's because East Texas pharmacists say there's a nationwide shortage of the drug.

"It's a lot more than it was the same time last year," said C.G. Mata, a pharmacist at Super One Food.

With the seasonal flu's early arrival and H1N1, patients are taking Tamiflu by storm.

"We don't have any Tamiflu liquid suspension at all, and we've been without it for about two or three weeks," said Mata. "Our wholesaler can't supply us. We've got plenty of the capsules."

So, who needs Tamiflu?

"Tamiflu really needs to be reserved for people who are high risk," said Dr. Lewis Browne.

"The health professionals, the elderly, and the young," said Mata.

Tamiflu will run you between $75 and $120. But, doctors like Lewis Browne say there is help for families who can't afford it.

"They can get into this state provided vaccine that is either given a nominal charge or if they are totally indigent, they can get it for free," said Browne.

Doctor's say in order for Tamiflu to be effective, you have to take it within 48 hours of getting the flu.

"There is concern for all of us in the healthcare that the Tamiflu is already showing some resistance in some cases and it's our really only drug out there that can cover the H1N1 as well as the seasonal flu," said Browne.

At Louis Morgan Pharmacy in Longview, they may be out of seasonal flu shots, but they do have Tamiflu capsules...for now. Will they run out?

"No, I don't suspect we will," said Cheryl Gilliam, a pharmacist. "We're still able to order it an we do have quite a bit on hand."

Good news for folks looking for some help with the flu. There is a web site that shows you which Texas pharmacies offer Tami-flu for uninsured and under-insured patients. Click here to check it out.

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