News Feature | January 21, 2014

Genentech Resolves Tamiflu Shortage

Source: Pharmaceutical Online

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Roche/Genentech announced that the shortage of the liquid form of Tamiflu in the US has been resolved. The shortage occurred during the flu season, but lasted less than two weeks. The FDA has already taken the product off its drug shortage list.

Tamiflu, also known as Tamiflu Oral Suspension in its liquid form, has been in short supply since the beginning of the first quarter. The shortage coincided with the height of the flu season in the U.S. Thirty-five states have submitted reports of widespread flu cases and several associated pediatric deaths. When taken at the outset of symptoms, Tamiflu as an antiviral reduces the severity of the flu. 

Genentech previously sent notice of the shortage in advance. The company blamed the backup in supply on scheduling misalignments. Genentech spokesperson Tara Iannuccillo stated in an email, “For a two-week period our ability to package Tamiflu OS fell behind demand due to scheduling misalignments between the arrival of new product from Europe and its final packaging in the U.S.” Roche has experienced shortages before, specifically with its cancer drug Perjeta back in 2012 and its osteoporosis drug Boniva.

Despite Tamiflu’s liquid form shortage, there has been a steady supply of 75 milligram capsules of the drug. Patients who are unable to swallow capsules were advised to ask healthcare professionals to open the capsules and mix the content with liquid for intake. 

Genentech said its information concerning the drug’s supply in certain areas were incomplete. “We have limited information regarding Tamiflu supply in specific local areas… Given the widespread flu activity in 35 states nationally, there may be some instances where a local pharmacy may not have the liquid formulation of Tamiflu in stock.”

The company expects to have sufficient supply of Tamiflu in both liquid and capsule forms in anticipation of demand during the ongoing flu season.