Flu outbreak in Lufkin causes Tamiflu shortage

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A flu epidemic is hitting East Texas hard.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seasonal influenza increased sharply this week in the United States.

A local pharmacist describes how their pharmacy has responded to the increase demand of Tamiflu.

"There have been days where we used up all our stock that we have, but then we've been able to get it in the next day," said Registered Pharmacist, Jessica Ponder.

At Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin, Texas they've had to use their standby source to restock Tamiflu.

"We've been utilizing both of our sources in order to keep all the strands and the dosage forms in stock," said Ponder.

According to Ponder there's been a spike in cases of the flu in the past few weeks.

She said it's not uncommon for a doctor to give an entire family a Tamiflu prescription even if only one member has the virus.

With the shortage, the Brookshire Brother pharmacies are coming together.

"We're able to check the stock at other stores and see what's in stock. They can check to see what we have, so they may send us prescription for patients if they're out," Ponder said.

But ponder and her team are doing their best to make sure they keep the shelves full.

Ponder said the only antiviral prescription medication is an inhaler that must be prescribed by a doctor.

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