In response to the continued influx of flu-sick patients into hospitals and medical offices around the nation, the Biden administration said on Wednesday that it would distribute doses of prescription flu medication from the Strategic National Stockpile to states.
The flu season this year began abruptly and severely.
As cases have increased, some consumers even see empty shelves at pharmacies and grocery shops when they look for over-the-counter medications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this season’s flu has caused 150,000 hospital admissions and 9,300 fatalities.
According to Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Health and Human Services, “jurisdictions will be able to access the support they need to keep Americans healthy when flu cases rise this winter.”
State governments will be allowed to ask HHS for dosages of the flu drug Tamiflu maintained in the Strategic National Stockpile.
The government does not disclose how many dosages will be made available.
During the H1N1 or swine flu pandemic more than ten years ago, antiviral drugs were released from the stockpile.
The federal agency also said last week that it would permit states to access Tamiflu from statewide stocks, opening up millions of treatment courses.
People older than two weeks old who have the flu can receive a prescription for tamiflu.
This flu season follows a terrible uptick in RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, cases in children and coincides with another increase in COVID-19 cases.
Spot shortages of over-the-counter painkillers and medications, particularly for kids, have been reported at retailers around the nation.
Drug manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson claim that production lines are operating round-the-clock.
HHS stated that it is working with states to keep in-demand medications stocked.
For instance, CVS Health has imposed a two-product restriction on all children’s painkillers purchased from its pharmacies or online.
Customers can only buy six children’s over-the-counter fever-reducer items from Walgreens online.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no scarcity of Tamiflu.
The government agency claims, however, that there is a shortage of the prescription antibiotic amoxicillin because of rising demand.