Alabama pharmacies seeing shortage of flu medications

Alabama News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — Several pharmacies throughout Alabama are reporting a shortage in flu medications like Tamiflu and Xofluza early this flu season.

According to pharmacist Ralph Sorrell of Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook, they are stocked on Tamiflu, but Xofluza is on back order.

“But it’s on manufacture back order. There are three major wholesalers and I just checked two of them and both of them are out,” Sorrell said.

He says the problem goes beyond his area, too.

“A parent whose child is in school in Tuscaloosa said they couldn’t find any Tamiflu, even last week,” Sorrell said.

Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis says it’s not uncommon for some medications to be on back order or short supply during flu season, but it’s still a concerning issue for those who are infected by the virus.

“Because then, they have to worry about complications of the flu. Which include and are not limited to, of course, pneumonia, bronchitis, even death,” Dr. Reese-Willis said.

She says the best ways to prevent the flu during flu season is mask wearing, hand washing and physical distancing when people can. She says during the winter of 2020, those measures were effective against both the flu and COVID-19.

“So, even if we didn’t realize it, those were protective measures against the flu,” Dr. Reese-Willis said.

If someone is sick with the flu, she recommends drinking plenty of water and fluids with rest. Other experts say the best tactic in preventing the flu is getting the flu shot yearly.

Sorrell says they’ve been pretty busy recently giving flu shots and COVID-19 booster shots as well.

“So, you’re not just doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for your fellow man,” Sorrell said.

To keep track of flu cases in the state, the Alabama Department of Public Health has a tracker here.

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