As local doctor’s offices fill up with patients seeking relief during a deadly flu season, a key drug to fight the virus could be harder to come by in Connecticut.
With so many doctors prescribing anti-viral medications for flu-like symptoms, some Connecticut pharmacies are having a hard time keeping up with demand.
"It's definitely picked up in the last couple of weeks. We've had a lot of requests for flu shots,” said Sabrina Griswold, the manager of Arrow Pharmacy in Hartford. “We're subsequently getting more requests for Tamiflu as well.”
Tamiflu can be taken early on, in an effort to cut symptoms short.
“As you approach 48 hours it becomes less and less effective. Of course, we're also looking for elderly, people with significant comorbidities, and of course pediatric patients as ideal patients to give Tamiflu to,” said Brandon Batory, a physician’s assistant at AFC Urgent Care in West Hartford.
He said some pharmacies have begun to run out of the drug in recent days.
“It really exploded over the last few weeks. We're seeing a lot of patients coming in with flu-like symptoms,” Batory said.
Independent pharmacy's like Arrow in Hartford have to go through some unique routes to ensure Tamiflu is in stock.
That's because main wholesalers are allotting only a certain amount of the drug at a time.
“But the generic is starting to become less available. We're having a bigger problem getting generic Tamiflu liquid. However, we do have additional wholesalers we can order from,” Griswold said.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control is working with manufacturers to address gaps.
The agency advises consumers to call around before filling a prescription to ensure the drug is in stock.
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