In what is shaping up to be a tough and
widespread flu season in the United States, one of the leading
medicines used to treat children with the sometimes deadly virus is
in short supply.
"There has been strong and early demand for Tamiflu
Oral Suspension (OS) and we are experiencing a temporary delay in
the packaging of Tamiflu OS," said Tara Iannuccillo, a spokeswoman
for Roche Holding AG's Genentech unit which manufactures the drug
and uses distributors to supply retail pharmacies with the product.
"A brief shortage of OS is expected through mid-January. We may be
unable to fill complete orders from distributors for a limited
time," Iannuccillo added.
Tamiflu is used to reduce the severity of the flu when taken at the
outset of symptoms. The oral suspension of the drug is primarily
prescribed for children under the age of 13 and for people who have
The delay in packaging of the liquid version has not impacted
supplies of regular Tamiflu 75 milligram capsules, Genentech said.
The flu is spreading quickly this season, with 25 states already
reporting cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
Thousands of people die every year from flu, which typically peaks
in the United States between the months of October and March. This
season's virus has killed six children in the United States so far,
according to CDC data.
Roche said it expects to have additional supply of Tamiflu OS
available in mid-January.
"We expect that these new supplies should meet demand for OS overall
and we will continue to receive and ship out new supplies of Tamiflu
OS and capsules throughout the flu season," Iannuccillo said.