The government has released some Tamiflu stock from the National Medical Stockpile to help bolster national supplies during worst flu season on record
There is currently a shortage of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) products across Australian pharmacies and wholesalers, including the 30mg and 45mg capsules as well as the suspension, the TGA confirms.
Manufacturer Roche says pharmacies and wholesalers are running low on stock due to “exceptionally high seasonal demand”.
“Tamiflu is available within the supply chain, and Roche and its distribution partners are working closely to expedite deliveries as quickly as possible,” says Roche.
“In the event that pharmacists cannot secure stock from their usual supplier in the timeframe required, they are advised to contact an alternative wholesaler.
“For patients who are unable to access their normal capsule dose or where no suspension is available, Tamiflu may be compounded by a pharmacy.”
The TGA advises that an increased supply of the 75mg capsule has been released, with instructions in the PI and CMI on how to prepare weaker strength suspensions from the capsules, either by a pharmacist compounding it or by the patient.
It reminds the public that Tamiflu is an oral formulation that, if taken early (within the first 24-48 hours after onset of symptoms) can alleviate symptoms and reduce their duration.
PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson says it is “encouraging” that the Federal Government is releasing extra supplies from the National Medical Stockpile.
He also reminds consumers that it’s not too late to have an influenza vaccination.
“If you haven’t had a vaccination, visit your GP or community pharmacist to have a vaccine, even if you’re not at high risk of influenza,” says Dr Jackson.
“The more people who are vaccinated, the more we create a buffer between the most vulnerable in society who are at greatest risk of catching influenza.”
The latest figures from the Immunisation Coalition have revealed that to date, there have been 132,727 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza in Australia in 2017.
The previous highest number on record had been 100,590 in 2015.
Professor Paul VanBuynder, of the Gold Coast Health Service and the Immunisation Coalition, told media that the uptick in flu cases this year cannot be attributed to increased reporting, nor to GPs’ takeup of desktop testing methods, as the latter are not included in the official data.