Every year, an average of 700 people die from flu complications in Louisiana. With widespread flu this season, people are having a tough time finding the most common medication to treat it-Tamiflu.
Health officials said there isn't a state or national shortage of the drug; you just have to shop around to see who has it in stock.
“We order a big supply every week, and every week, we’re pretty much out,” said Gregory Sweet, Pharmacist at Walgreens on Line Avenue. “Right now, we have one box of the capsules and no suspension.
Pharmacists order Tamiflu based on customer demand.
“Capsules and the suspension are very expensive to get and expensive with insurance,” said Sweet. “So we kind of try to pace how many prescriptions we think we’ll get and every week we’ll order it like that.”
If your local pharmacist doesn’t have it, try another. Pharmacists at Medic Pharmacy say they have a ton in stock.
“Some of the pharmacies need real help because some of the national chains are on a different allocation than we are,” said Clovic Burch, pharmacist and owner of Medic Pharmacy. “Our local wholesaler has it and we can get it and we have an adequate supply right now.”
If regular pharmacies run out of the liquid version of Tamiflu, compounding pharmacies like Medic Pharmacy have the capacity to make the liquid form so children receive the treatment they need. "
Tamiflu isn’t the only thing in short supply. People are also lining up to get the flu shot.
“We've actually run out of the flu shots too,” said Sweet. “Most places have. We’ve ordered some more of the flu shots and it’s just a matter of when we'll get it in.”
Overall, Louisiana health officials said the number of people visiting the doctor with flu symptoms has quadrupled since Christmas. If you do have the flu, they advise you to avoid contact with others until you are fever free for 24 hours without using medication.