The CDC is reporting widespread influenza activity in 44 states, with high influenza-like illnesses in Illinois and Indiana. This increase has led to in a spike in demand for the liquid form of Tamiflu given to children, since they cannot swallow capsules. The result has been a shortage of the suspension (liquid) version of the flu-fighting drug.
This is a potentially deadly shortage, since hospitalization rates for influenza are highest in patients younger than 5 and older than 65 years of age. Forty-one influenza-associated pediatric deaths have occurred this flu season.
Deerfield-based Walgreens has responded to this shortage by compounding Tamiflu capsules into the liquid form, so are able to continue filling liquid prescriptions without interruption. Tamiflu capsules remain in adequate supply.