Mass. pharmacies reporting Tamiflu shortage amid flu epidemic

A spike in flu activity is causing a shortage of Tamiflu at local pharmacies.

All states, except Hawaii, are reporting widespread flu activity and Massachusetts is one of 39 states to report a "high" level of influenza-like illnesses.

"We do get a lot of calls from pharmacies saying they don't have it [Tamiflu] in stock. Asking if we do," said Lisa Rodgers, Sullivan's Pharmacy.

The state department of public health tells Boston 25 News, "we've heard of supply chain issues for Tamiflu that might affect individual pharmacies at a particular time, but we hear that there are adequate supplies overall."

"It all depends on who your wholesaler is - what they have in stock," said Rodgers.

Rodgers says many pharmacies didn't order enough Tamiflu to cover the increased demand and only a handful of manufacturers distribute the drug.

The CDC is clear on who should be treated with Tamiflu - including the very old, the young, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical condition.

"It's very concerning because a lot of people can just die," said Charlene Reyes of Roslindale.
Reyes says she's seen the danger firsthand.

"My mom's friend got the flu and she had to go to the hospital and everything. Thankfully she's fine and was able to get the flu shot, but there was a lot of people waiting when she went," said Reyes.

Mass. has already seen flu-related fatalities in 2018. A 51-year-old Needham mother of two and a 68-year-old beloved Swampscott music teacher died due to complications from the flu.

If you need Tamiflu and can't find it, there is one last resort.

"One thing that you can do is you can go to a compounding pharmacy and they can compound it for you into a liquid. We are a compounding pharmacy so we are starting to see some of those phone calls," said Reyes.