Local pharmacies struggle to keep Tamiflu in stock as flu cases ramp up

PITTSBURGH — As flu cases ramp up, several local pharmacies are struggling to keep Tamiflu in stock, including the Medicine Shoppe along Bailey Avenue in Mount Washington. They’ve been out of stock for about a month.

“A lot of main wholesalers are all out of it,” said Medicine Shoppe owner Jamie Wyles. “We do shop a lot of secondary wholesalers looking for it, but no one seems to have any at the moment.”

Owners of some local pharmacies said sourcing Tamiflu has been hit or miss so far this flu season.

Tamiflu is used to treat flu symptoms within 48 hours. Wyles said it’s concerning that they are seeing a shortage of it this early in the season. Normally it happens later in January or February.

“Right now, it’s nowhere to be found,” said Wyles.

Wyles talked to more than 10 other local pharmacies who are also having trouble getting their hands on Tamiflu.

This comes at a time when flu cases in Pennsylvania are high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And there have been almost 8,000 more cases in Allegheny County compared to this time last year, according to the county’s health department.

At Hilltop Pharmacy in Allentown, they actually had some luck this morning getting children’s Tamiflu.

“Fortunately, this morning we were notified it’s back in stock with our wholesaler, but prior to that it’s been about three to four weeks since we had a solid supply in stock,” said Alex Rothey, the owner of Hilltop Pharmacy.

They also got some adult Tamiflu over the weekend. However, Rothey said it quickly runs out and unfortunately, this impacts a lot of families.

“Because if you can’t get it locally or close by, you’re kind of forcing patients to go further lengths to get it. It should just be easy treatment to obtain,” said Rothey. “Right now, I think it’s going to be this roller coaster like a lot of drugs have been the last few years where it’s gone but then slowly comes back into stock.”

If you get a prescription for Tamiflu, double check with your pharmacy to see if they have it before you go. Blueberry Pharmacy in West View said they have Tamiflu in stock. Doctors say the best way to fight the flu is by getting a flu shot.

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