Flu season keeps local pharmacists busy

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Pharmacists at Access Pharmacy said they’ve been very busy filling Tamiflu prescriptions the last few weeks.

Tamiflu is the medication used to reduce the severity and duration of the flu.

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“We are seeing a lot of patients that are our patients and from surrounding pharmacies that are out. We have seen a few people that have been here from other counties,” Access Pharmacy Pharmacist Jeff Perry said.

The demand for Tamiflu is causing a shortage of supply.

Perry said they’ve had several of their suppliers run out of Tamiflu, but they have still been able to get the medicine through secondary suppliers.

“We’re in a unique position where we can use a secondary supplier, but a lot of the other pharmacies are only able to use one and when they’re out they’re out. We can kind of go around it and get a supply from other places, but they’re running short on those too.”

The medicine comes in two forms, capsules and liquid for children.

“In the event that the liquid runs out, which we are very close to exhausting that supply, compounding pharmacies, we are a compounding pharmacy, compounding pharmacies can compound the capsules into a liquid, based on what the doctor writes,” Perry said.

This flu season has been deadly.

The illness has killed at least 53 kids.

“Typically, January to March is the peak of the flu season, and if people haven’t got their flu vaccination, you still can. It takes two to four weeks for it to really kick in and be effective, but the flu season isn’t over yet,” Nurse Practitioner Lauryn Smith said.

Perry said the last few flu seasons have been pretty mild.

He said it has been at least five years since they’ve ran out of Tamiflu.

Health professionals said the flu can spread through respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing.