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Tamiflu Available, Despite Shortage Concerns

January 10, 2013, 6:03 PM by Hailey Higgins

Tamiflu Available, Despite Shortage Concerns

The flu season rages across the country in what is being hailed one of the worst influenza outbreaks in a decade.

With the flu season hitting earlier and becoming more intense, the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu is in high demand. And in some states, it’s hard to get.

While it may appear to be a shortage, the director of pharmacy at Lewis Drug says it's a perceived shortage, adding that the prescription is readily available in South Dakota.

Tamiflu is used to slow down or stop the symptoms of the flu in people already infected with the virus. And with so many people suffering with the flu early in the season, it's in high demand.

"The concern is getting Tamiflu at the right place at the right time," Lewis Drug Director of Pharmacy Bill Ladwig said.

Ladwig says South Dakota inventory has Tamiflu in stock, it just may be running out faster at some locations. 

"It's more on timing and projecting proper inventory and inventory levels and moving product a round," Ladwig said. "We have a lot of stores and move it around so we should be fine."

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration says the liquid form is in short supply nationally due to recent increased demand, but Ladwig says it's not something South Dakotans should worry about.

"You can always create a panic situation and this is one of those things where you need to be calm, work through it," Ladwig said. "We have product, I really don't see it becoming a problem."

Ladwig adds there could be issues if manufacturers or pharmacists hoard Tamiflu or if it is unnecessarily prescribed to people who don't suffer from influenza.

Flu Resources

Influenza Symptoms (CDC):
• Fever of 100 or higher or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone will have a fever)
• Cough and/or sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Headaches
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

When To Call A Doctor About The Flu (WebMD)

Monitor Flu Activity:
South Dakota Department of Health

National Surveillance


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