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Flu Alert: Nationwide Shortage of Antiviral Tamiflu

This year's flu epidemic is now impacting prescriptions for the virus. Tamiflu is an antiviral that has no substitute.

Posted: Feb. 2, 2018 5:27 PM
Updated: Feb. 2, 2018 5:30 PM

Medford, OR. -- This year's flu epidemic is now impacting prescriptions for the virus. 

Tib Alvarez, a pharmacist at a Medford Walmart told NewsWatch12 there is a nationwide Tamiflu shortage. Tamiflu is an antiviral that has no substitute. 

Alvarez says the ERs and Immediate Cares in Southern Oregon are packed with flu patients, "It's going kinda crazy through the valley right now."

Alvarez told NewsWatch12 if you test positive for the flu virus, most doctors will prescribe Tamiflu. Since the flu is a virus, there isn't a medicine that can fully kill it. However, Tamiflu can help ease the symptoms, and help you fight it off quicker. 

Alvarez says because so many people are sick this season, Tamiflu is back-ordered across the country. He says they are having trouble filling the brand name, and the generic version. 

He says the affordable cost of the generic brand is adding to the shortage, and health insurance companies are trying to help. 

"Some of the insurance companies are not covering the brand name. But because of the shortage they've been making exceptions and covering the brand," says Alvarez. 

Alvarez says in order for Tamiflu to work best, you need to take it within 72 hours of getting the flu. 

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