This year's early and potentially severe flu season has created shortages of the children's formulation of the leading treatment and most forms of the top-selling U.S. vaccine, according to their manufacturers.
Roche Holding AG told Reuters late on Wednesday that it had a shortage of the liquid formulation of Tamiflu, which is used mainly to slow down or stop the symptoms of the flu in children already infected with the virus.
Roche said the company had informed wholesalers and distributors in recent weeks that they would face temporary delays in shipments. Pharmacists can create a substitute oral formulation by dissolving Tamiflu capsules into a sweet liquid, according to Tara Iannuccillo, spokeswoman for Roche's Genentech unit, which makes Tamiflu.
Sanofi SA, the largest flu vaccine provider in the United States, said on Thursday that it had sold out of four of its six formulations of its Fluzone seasonal flu vaccine due to the unanticipated late-season demand for vaccines.