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Local Pharmacists Worry About Tamiflu Shortage

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Pharmacists nationwide are seeing a shortage in the liquid form of Tamiflu, a drug that helps relieve flu symptoms.

Ray Solano, a pharmacist with the Peoples Pharmacy in Austin, says, "What's really ironic is a month ago you could have bought all the Tamiflu you wanted, but unfortunately now it's in short supply."

Genentech, the maker of Tamiflu, is reporting a shortage in the liquid form of the drug because of early strong demand.

Solano says, "What's particularly difficult is right now the oral suspension is on back order, and the oral suspensions are for people who can't swallow and small children."

Dr. Eric Higginbotham, the interim medical director at Dell Children's Medical Center, says it's typically prescribed to people with a chronic medical illness.

He says, "It can help shorten the duration of the disease, most people say by a day or two. It's definitely not a medication for everybody, so we know that certain high risk groups benefit more from it than just a regular healthy person."

Dr. Higginbotham says most people should get over the flu just fine without it.

He says we've already seen one spike in the number of people suffering from the flu. "It's always possible to see a second spike that people talk about, as you get into January, February. We're just going to have to wait and see," Dr. Higginbotham says.

Local pharmacists hope they have the liquid form of Tamiflu ready when if that happens.

Solano says, "Manufacturers have said they expect Tamiflu to be in stock in mid-January. I think that's being optimistic, I'm thinking the end of January."

By Lydia Pantazes

Local Pharmacists Worry About Tamiflu Shortage


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