Peak of flu season months away, current shortage of Tamiflu

Source: WMBF News Reporter Brennan Somers
Source: WMBF News Reporter Brennan Somers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The peak of the flu season isn't until late February or early March, but this year's flu season is already making its presence known in South Carolina.

Now doctors are reporting there is a shortage of Tamiflu, a drug doctors said they commonly prescribe to patients who have the flu.

Dr. Ron Reynolds with Beach Urgent Care said several pharmacies started calling his office last week saying they were almost out of Tamiflu.

"We made calls today and what we are finding is they are getting supplies in, but they are very limited maybe 10 bottles of Tamiflu every day or every other day" said Reynolds.

It is not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe Tamiflu for an entire family, Reynolds said.

"Basically if somebody comes in and they have the flu typically if supplies are available you also tend to treat the other people that are in the home."

However, Reynolds said this week he started only prescribing Tamiflu to the person in the family affected by the flu.

"When supplies are low you have to take the approach to where we'll treat who has it."  "The people who are also in the household, unfortunately we just really can't treat them because there's not enough in the community" said Reynolds.

Reynolds did add that he doesn't think pharmacies will refuse to fill prescriptions for multiple family members, instead they will try to get the patients to only take what is absolutely needed.

Reynolds said, "I'm sure if they were down to the last few boxes of Tamiflu,  I'm sure they'd say are you sure you just don't want it for you and maybe save this for some other people?"

As of Dec. 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed South Carolina's flu activity as "widespread."

South Carolina and North Carolina were just two of 18 states listed in that category.

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