Nationwide Tamiflu shortage now impacting NE Ohio

EUCLID, Ohio - People who have the flu or are taking care of someone with the flu may have found out the hard way that there is a shortage of the one medicine that can shorten the lifespan of the flu’s nasty symptoms.

Missy More is one of those parents. Her 8-year-old son Jackson has been stuck at home with the flu for days. “I’m helpless, there’s nothing I could do and I feel bad for him,” she said.

“They did prescribe the Tamiflu and it’s nowhere to be found and he’s at high risk, he has asthma,” Moore explained.

Many parents have gone to their local pharmacy with the Tamiflu prescription, only to learn that the pharmacy is out of stock. Many of the pharmacies that do have it have the name brand, which, if not covered, is very expensive.

Right now there is a shortage of the generic, liquid Tamiflu at pharmacies in Northeast Ohio. Euclid Family Pharmacy is one of them.

“We have four suppliers that we check daily, none of them have it in stock and even if they did we would be limited to about one a day that we could order and we have not been able to get it for the last two weeks,” explained Ana Ibragimova, a pharmacy technician at Euclid Family Pharmacy.

Euclid Family Pharmacy does have the name-brand Tamiflu, but it’s not covered by most insurance plans and could cost up to $180. Antonio Ciaccia with the Ohio Pharmacists Association says they have seen a huge run on Tamiflu this year and are following the shortage.

“When something becomes a problem, that’s when we typically hear about it. So we started hearing about the shortages sometime last week and we also started hearing about some of the coverage issues with some of the alternative options from patients,” Ciaccia said.

Ciaccia says the demand for Tamiflu this season definitely one of the worst they have seen in the last decade and now that is impacting families.

“It’s been everyday we’ve actually had to turn a mother away two days ago and she had to go back to the hospital,” explained Ibragimova.

The Ohio Pharmacists Association says if you are told that paying for the name-brand Tamiflu is your only option keep working with your pharmacy to find a substitute, talk to your doctor or talk to your insurance company.