GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The active flu season in West Michigan is putting a strain on the supply of Tamiflu at some pharmacies. Certain versions and strengths of Tamiflu may not be available in some stores.
Ralph Martin, a pharmacist at Walker Street Pharmacy on the west side of Grand Rapids, said the issue might come down to warehouse supply. "It might be in the chains where their warehouses may be out of it and they don't have as many sources as we do," said Martin. "I know when I used to work for a chain we had one outside source, and if they didn't have it, we couldn't get it."
Martin says his store is getting by without too many issues thus far. "We also have several different sources, not only our primary wholesaler but then we have three other wholesalers that we can possibly get it from if we need it."
The 30 milligram dose of Tamiflu, the dose that's commonly used for children, smaller adults, and some elderly people, seems to be in the shortest supply. "I know I had to call another pharmacy for the 30 milligram dose, which we hardly ever use," said Martin.
If you do come down with flu-like symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor for a prescription right away. Not only is Tamiflu in short supply at some stores, it's also not an effective treatment if used in the latter stages of the flu. "Whether it's for a child or adult, you need to get it as soon as diagnosed," Martin said. "If you wait too long, then it's just ineffective."