U.S. to Release Flu Meds From National Stockpile to Ease Shortages

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Having trouble finding influenza meds at your local pharmacy? You're not alone. Now, flu-infected patients will have better access to prescription medicines as the U.S. government releases doses of Tamiflu from the Strategic National Stockpile.

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will release an unspecified number of doses to U.S. states as the country deals with an early and challenging flu season, the Associated Press reported.

About 150,000 people have been hospitalized with flu in the United States this season, and 9,300 have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

States will be able to request Tamiflu from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC. The antiviral medication can help treat flu in patients as young as 2 weeks old.

"Jurisdictions will be able to get the support they need to keep Americans healthy as flu cases rise this winter," Dawn O’Connell, an assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, said in a statement.

States had already been given the go-ahead to dip into statewide Tamiflu stockpiles, making millions of doses available, the AP reported.

Hospitals this season have been strained by the so-called "tripledemic," marked by widespread transmission of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications have been in short supply. Though Tamiflu is not experiencing a shortage, the prescription antibiotic amoxicillin has been dwindling because of demand.

Some stores have also seen shortages of over-the-counter pain relievers, especially those meant for children, leading to a two-product limit at CVS stores and online and a six-item limit online at Walgreens.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on this year's flu season.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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