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Tamiflu Drug Availability Becomes Spotty in Texas

An early, widespread flu outbreak in Texas is putting a strain on the supply of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, a Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson said Wednesday.

Tamiflu is a prescription drug that both fights flu symptoms and prevents the spread of the flu to the rest of the body. But because of Texas’ flu outbreak, Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said there are small spot shortages of the drug.

“It’s not an issue where we’re seeing wide areas that have been affected, but there may be some spot shortages, individual pharmacies or providers that may be out of the drugs temporarily,” Van Deusen said.

He said one manufacturer is short of the formulation needed to make the children’s liquid version of the Tamiflu drug, but pharmacies can crush the adult tablets to make liquids for children.

Van Deusen said vaccinations for the flu are still available and it is unclear if Texas has reached its peak of the flu season or if that was still to come.

“The flu is very widespread in Texas right now, and that is what we’re seeing in many states,” Van Deusen said. “We’re really in the same boat with most of the other states.”

Forty-seven states have reported widespread outbreaks of the flu. Texas' health department recommends  people wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and stay home when sick.

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