Tamiflu in high demand as flu cases skyrocket

CHARLOTTE — Flu cases are skyrocketing in the Carolinas and pharmacies are having a hard time keeping the medicine to treat it, Tamiflu, on the shelves.

Channel 9′s Almiya White visited two pharmacies in Charlotte to learn how they’re keeping up with demand.

The key is to shop around to get your hands on the popular drug.

“We have a lot of demand of the Tamiflu right now, because the flu is spreading between children and there’s a big shortage,” said David Korany, owner of Dave’s Pharmacy.

Korany mixes Tamiflu at his pharmacy in north Charlotte and while he’s not seeing a shortage at his store, he sees limited supply in others.

“Big box stores, you know, they reach out to me asking if we have it,” Korany said. “We have some in stock but we’re also able to make this medication.”

Korany said the drug is so much in demand because of the severe flu season but also because it gets patients back on their feet sooner.

“It takes care of the patient, like over a course of five days,” Korany said. “And also you know, it’s stops the virus from spreading more.”

Walker’s Drug Store in east Charlotte also has Tamiflu, but pharmacists there are not making it themselves.

“We’ve luckily been able to source it from other wholesalers,” pharmacist Alex Yawny said.

Yawny said customers are coming in every day asking for the drug.

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“We have plenty on the shelves for now,” Yawny said. “We probably see upwards of five, maybe 10 prescriptions a day, on a busy day.”

Yawny recommended shopping around for a drug if your regular pharmacy is out.

Compounding pharmacies that make their own prescriptions on site can get around the shortages but only if the prescription is not commercially available.

They’re also usually more costly and may not be covered by insurance.

Pharmacists and doctors are recommending people get this year’s flu vaccine. They said it’s a good match to the current flu strain.

VIDEO: NC child dies from flu complications; officials urge everyone to get vaccinated

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV