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Roche’s Tamiflu for Children in Short Supply

Update Date: Jan 10, 2014 10:11 AM EST

Drug shortages can be very problematic for patient care and safety. A recent survey published in the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy found that nearly 50 percent of pharmacy directors believe that drug shortages will negatively affect the level of medical care people receive. Despite the importance of having a supply of medications, drug-manufacturing company, Roche announced that its liquid Tamiflu for children is in short supply.

"There has been strong and early demand for Tamiflu Oral Suspension (OS) and we are experiencing a temporary delay in the packaging of Tamiflu OS," said Tara Iannuccillo, a spokeswoman for Roche Holding AG's Genentech unit, reported by FOX News. The unit is responsible for making the drug and using distributors to provide retail pharmacies with the product. "A brief shortage of OS is expected through mid-January. We may be unable to fill complete orders from distributors for a limited time."

Tamiflu OS is often prescribed to children under 13-years-old who might have difficulty taking the pill version. The drug has also been approved for infants as young as two-weeks-old. It works by reducing the fever caused by an infection.

According to Genentech, the shortage is not expected to last very long. The company stated that the drug should be back on the shelves after mid-January. Furthermore, the shortage has not affected the sales of the regular 75-milligram Tamiflu capsules.

In the meantime, the company has urged parents to talk to their children's primary care physician about others options until Tamiflu OS returns. Tamiflu 75-milligram capsules could be turned into liquid form by turning it into a powdered form and dissolving it in water. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that adding Tamiflu 30-milligram or Tamiflu-45-milligram into chocolate syrup or some other sweet liquid would be safe for young children since they have the most difficulty swallowing a pill.

"For those patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsules can be opened and the contents may be mixed with chocolate syrup or some other thick, sweet liquid, as directed by a health-care professional," the FDA announced according to HealthDay.

The officials remind parents that there is still time to vaccinate their children from the flu.

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