Nationwide shortage of Tamiflu impacting central VA

Nationwide shortage of Tamiflu impacting central VA

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Several area pharmacies are reporting a shortage of Tamiflu, medicine is used to fight the flu and keep it from spreading. This news coming just days after two children under the age of five died of flu in eastern Virginia. 
It's safe to say that flu season is in full swing at Buford's Pharmacy.

They've received call after call, most requesting the popular flu-fighting drug Tamiflu. Manager David Williams says the nationwide shortage has to do with the spike in demand for the medicine and not enough to go around.

"The suppliers just don't have enough, and it just needs to be redistributed throughout the state. When an area gets hit by the flu, it may not be readily available there, but it needs to get from other parts of the state to there, which can take a few days," Williams said.

"We had some as of yesterday, but it is all gone now. Lots of other pharmacies throughout the area are calling. Just everybody is calling each other to try and find it," Williams said.

Genentech, the maker of Tamiflu, maintains that it's not necessarily a nationwide shortage because the company is working to get more Tamiflu in stock. In a statement, Genentech referred to it as a "spot" shortage across the nation. In a statement, Genentech said:

"We anticipate having ample supply of both Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) formulations (oral suspension and 75mg capsules) for the 2014-15 flu season.

We have produced sufficient supply of all Tamiflu formulations for a severe flu season and are currently working with distributors and national retail pharmacies to provide consistent access to Tamiflu.

Flu activity is unpredictable and, as the manufacturer of Tamiflu, we do our best each season to anticipate flu spikes and work with our network of national distributors and pharmacies to provide Tamiflu to those areas of the country that need it most."

While some stores like CVS and Walgreens did have the capsule form of Tamiflu, most were out of the liquid form commonly used to treat children. Several Facebook messages from viewers had similar reports: no medicine for their children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Virginia is one of 29 states reporting widespread flu activity. Doctors say that this is because one of this season's most common flu strains doesn't match up with the vaccine.

Williams still highly suggests getting that vaccine and if you are diagnosed with the flu, then try and take Tamiflu immediately, assuming you can find it.

"We keep trying other places see what we can do for patients, keep calling our whole seller," Williams said.

The pharmacy on Buford Road is expected to get more Tamiflu in on Wednesday. Patient First has Tamiflu and isn't experiencing a shortage for now.

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