Tamiflu Shortages from Coast to Coast as Flu Epidemic Ravages U.S.

(Image courtesy of GoodRx)

Pharmacies and flu patients from coast to coast are reporting shortages of Tamiflu, the antiviral drug used to treat symptoms of the flu (influenza). It is recommended for children and adults who have been symptomatic for no more than two days. In many cases, Tamiflu can minimize the symptoms of the flu (cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, chills, aches, tiredness) and may also shorten the recovery time by 1-2 days. It essentially stops the flu virus from growing.

But due to increased demand as a result of the worst flu epidemic in recent years, many pharmacies are running out of Tamiflu. A GoodRx analysis of a representative sample of pharmacies found that pharmacy fills for Tamiflu are increasing. "In Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, and Arkansas, prescriptions are up over 20-fold from last year, and other parts of the south and midwest are likewise seeing an exceptionally high prescription volume," GoodRx found.

"On a national basis, prescriptions for Tamiflu are up more than 6 times last year’s rate," according to GoodRx. "The high volume of Tamiflu prescriptions at this point in the season has resulted in a shortage of the medication. While the FDA has not yet confirmed this shortage, doctors and pharmacists in both urban and rural areas are reporting difficulty in accessing Tamiflu for their patients."