Tamiflu in high demand across Region 8

by Stan Morris e-mail | Twitter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A shortage of Tamiflu is causing headaches for adults and children in Region 8  Doctors say most flu cases now in this area are H1N1 but with the seasonal flu being treated the same way, the drug is in short supply.

"My guess is that they didn't know how big the order or demand would be for the flu season, so they didn't have enough stock of it," said Josh Regal of Regal PharmaLab in Cordova.

Tamiflu used to combat flu-like symptoms within the first few days of getting the Type A influenza (which is either H1N1 or seasonal).  Several drugstores Region 8 are either completely out of the drug or only have it in stock in the form of a pill.

"The capsules are still available," Regal said. "There's no shortage of those from what the companies are telling us.  The wholesalers are having issues getting the oral suspension."

Doctors often prescribe the liquid form of Tamiflu to children too small to take it in pill form.  Regal said his laboratory has received numerous requests from pediatricians and physicians who want the drug in liquid form.
"It's more of opening up a capsule and basically mixing that in with the liquid preparation and thorough mixing," he said.
Regal added that pharmacies are now being instructed on how to turn the pills into a liquid.

"Sometimes it does take a little bit of extra equipment and time, and a lot of pharmacies may just pass that along to some of the experts in the community who are compounding pharmacists," he said.
While a shortage of the Tamiflu remains a challenge for many, Regal said his company is trying to keep up with what has been a booming demand for the drug.

Pharmacists expect the shortage of Tamiflu to last through November or December.

WMC-TV's Jamal Major contributed to this report.
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