Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 11:04 EDT

Government of Canada to address temporary shortage of flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu)

January 8, 2013

Tamiflu is a drug used to treat the flu; it is not a vaccine

OTTAWA, Jan. 8, 2013 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is working with
Roche Canada and the provincial and territorial health authorities to
address a potential temporary shortage of the antiviral flu drug
oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are arranging to
immediately release a supply of the drug Tamiflu from the Agency’s
National Emergency Stockpile System to the manufacturer for
distribution to where it is needed across Canada. This exceptional
action will be taken to ensure Tamiflu remains available to those
Canadians who need it until the manufacturer replenishes its supply
with a new shipment expected in February.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada will continue to
work with the manufacturer and with provincial and territorial health
authorities to help ensure the demand for antiviral drugs continues to
be met this flu season.

Tamiflu is an antiviral medication that is primarily used for the early
treatment of individuals infected with the influenza virus -
particularly those at high risk of complications due to influenza, such
as the elderly, young children, individuals with other medical
conditions or pregnant women. Tamiflu can also be prescribed to help
reduce the chance of getting the flu following close contact with an
infected individual. Tamiflu should not be confused with the seasonal
influenza vaccine (flu shot), which remains the best protection against
the influenza virus.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is seeing an early spike in flu cases
and more severe illness caused by the flu than was seen in the last two
years. This year, the flu shot matches the circulating influenza
strains very well and therefore offers excellent protection from the
virus. Canadians are reminded to get the flu shot to protect themselves
and their loved ones. It is not too late to get the flu shot.

It is also important to take the following steps to protect yourself and
your family from infection during flu season:

        --  Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20
            seconds, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not
        --  Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand.  If you use a
            tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands.
        --  Keep doing what you normally do, but if you get sick, stay
        --  Keep your hands away from your face.
        --  Keep common surface areas - for example, doorknobs, light
            switches, telephones and keyboards - clean and disinfected.
        --  Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your
            immune system strong.

Learn more by getting a copy of Fight Flu: Your Seasonal Flu Guide by contacting 1 800 O-Canada or visiting www.fightflu.ca.

Également offert en français

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

Source: PR Newswire