Ramona senior citizen can't get prescription flu meds, Lack of Tamiflu in San Diego County

Posted at 6:03 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 16:49:25-05

RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) - While San Diego County’s battling a record flu season, there’s a lack of certain prescription flu medications at area pharmacies.

It’s of high concern to Ramona senior citizen Eileen Cummings, who says she’s been diagnosed with the flu for several days and can’t get the medication she needs.

“I really feel bad for the seniors and those people with no knowledge that are told we don't have the drug for you. I'm sure they're in a panic,” she says.

Cummings adds that she called at least 8 different retail pharmacies in Ramona, Poway and Rancho Bernardo, and was told they’ve all run out of Tamiflu. She says one pharmacy told her it would be one month until it was restocked.

10 News visited a CVS in Ramona, where a pharmacy employee confirmed there’s no available adult version of Tamiflu.

A pharmacy employee at a Rite Aid in Ramona confirmed there is no Tamiflu and no date for when it’ll be back on the shelves.

There have been 10,324 reported flu cases and 91 reported flu deaths this season in San Diego County, through Jan. 6 - an increase of more than 3,000 cases and a double in deaths over one week.

Genentech, which makes Tamiflu, reports there’s a robust national supply of the drug, but San Diego County wrote to us in part, “ is aware of isolated outages of Tamiflu at local retail pharmacies."

Media spokespersons for both Walgreens and Rite Aid report there's a lack of availability of the drug at certain stores. Genentech states in part, “Generally, going through the regular course of business we can get supply to pharmacies through their wholesalers within 2 days.”

Cummings, though, says she’s been waiting for longer than that.

The full statement from San Diego County is below:

“County Health and Human Services is aware of isolated outages of Tamiflu at local retail pharmacies. It is our understanding that that manufacturer (Genentech) can restock pharmacies on short notice, which you should confirm with the manufacturer. We have shared the manufacturer’s information for ordering supplies with local pharmacies through the channels we have available. We have also shared our local information about spot unavailability with the California Department of Public Health, which monitors this issue from a statewide perspective. The generic version of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) is in short supply nationwide. Our recommendation is for people to call other retail pharmacies to see if they have it in stock if their regular pharmacy is out, rather than actually drive around. We want to minimize exposure to those who are sick.”