Local pharmacies seeing shortage in Tamiflu as flu cases rise

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With over a thousand confirmed flu cases in El Paso, local pharmacies are seeing a shortage of Tamiflu.

Even the off-brand Oseltamivir is flying off of the shelves of pharmacies.

Pharmacists tell CBS4 there are few locations with this highly sought-out drug.

CVS, Walgreens and Med-time pharmacies have all been impacted by the high demand for the antiviral medication meant to combat the flu.

Wednesday, Walgreens confirmed there were only two locations in east El Paso with the medication.

We recently reported that public health officials recommend the use of antivirals as soon as possible for patients diagnosed with the flu in order to reduce the severity of the disease.

Having to wait for the medication or even having to track it down may present a problem when time is of the essence.

El Pasoans who shared how they felt about the shortage of Tamiflu this flu season said the news is concerning.

Judy Swinestew, an Upper Valley resident, said, "it is scary, and what I think is even scarier is that so many people don't get vaccinated."

Priscilla Chenausky says, "It's a little nerve-wracking there you know because if we do get sick we're all going to have to you know go out and maybe hit up New Mexico."

We asked CVS, Walgreens, Medtime and Mccorry's for a statement about the shortage.

No one wanted to speak with us on camera but CVS issued a statement:

"We are not experiencing a widespread shortage of Tamiflu at this time, but we are seeing increased demand nationwide. We’re continuing to supply stores with Tamiflu using our existing inventory network, but there may be instances when an individual pharmacy could be temporarily out-of-stock. We are closely monitoring the situation and we are working with suppliers to ensure our patients have access to available Tamiflu and other flu-related medications. We recommend that patients call their local CVS Pharmacy and/or MinuteClinic in advance since inventory varies day to day.
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