Supply chain issues force Wisconsin hospitals, pharmacies to ration flu medicine
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Tamiflu shortage is impacting the number of prescriptions available for Wisconsinites experiencing the flu.
Pharmacist Heather Walker said more people are in need of Tamiflu, but Waunakee Hometown Pharmacy and other Wisconsin health entities have to limit who they prescribe the drug to due to a national supply shortage.
SSM Health Primary Care Services Vice President Dr. David Ottenbaker said they’re only prescribing Tamiflu to younger and older populations most at risk for developing dire influenza symptoms.
”Unfortunately everybody who we would in normal circumstances would offer Tamiflu to we just aren’t able to give them the drug right now,” Dr. Ottenbaker said. ”The shortage is going to be long term. This will not be over in a week or two.”
He said the shortage is caused by supply chain issues.
Waunakee Hometown Pharmacy only has one box in stock, when usually they would have five.
“One day we’ll have the adult dose of the Tamiflu in and the next day it’s out of stock in the warehouse,” Walker said. ”It’s been a big challenge to find time to call around and try to find it somewhere else for patients.”
Instead of turning to medicine when it might be too late, Walker said people should think proactively and get their flu shots.
”People think that it might a little bit too late in the year but it’s definitely not,” she said. “If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, get your flu shot. It can help to reduce your risk of getting sick and help to reduce your risk of having terrible symptoms.”
While the shortage continues, Walker said people experiencing influenza symptoms should stay home if possible, avoid close contact with others and wear a mask in public.
When asked what the latest flu numbers were for pediatric patients, Wisconsin Department of Health Services told NBC15 that the flu is not a reportable disease so they do not have a number.
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