US releases prescription flu drugs from strategic national stockpiles

The Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it would release prescription flu drugs from the strategic national stockpile amid an unusually early and severe flu season.

Parts of the United States are being hit hard by a combination of respiratory viruses, including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19.

Available in liquid and capsule forms, Tamiflu, or oseltamivir phosphate, fights the flu by stopping the virus from multiplying in the body of an infected person.

Tamiflu drug.

Tamiflu drug.
(Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)

The FDA doesn’t currently list Tamiflu as a nationwide shortage, but is aware of “local shortages where demand is particularly high.”

‘MAJOR CONCERNS’: INVASIVE GROUP A STREP CASES UNDER INVESTIGATION IN SOME PARTS BY US TOP – CDC

Other drugs are also in short supply. Some pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, have restricted the purchase of children’s pain relievers.

The FDA last month warned of an “acute shortage” of amoxicillin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial respiratory infections.

A rise in flu and respiratory illnesses is causing drug shortages, including this South Florida pharmacy not stocking Tylenol for children as of Friday, December 24th.  9, 2022.

A rise in flu and respiratory illnesses is causing drug shortages, including this South Florida pharmacy not stocking Tylenol for children as of Friday, December 24th. 9, 2022.
(Cindy Krischer Goodman/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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The CDC estimates there have been at least 15 million cases so far this flu season, resulting in 150,000 hospitalizations and 9,300 deaths.

For the week ended Dec. 10, 48 jurisdictions recorded high or very high flu activity, while only three recorded moderate activity, according to the CDC.

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