Price of Tamiflu an obstacle for some flu patients

As the flu outbreak continues in North Texas, the cost of a flu drug is gaining attention in the wake of a Weatherford teacher’s death.

Heather Holland, a second-grade teacher at Ikard Elementary, died on Sunday from flu-complications.

Her husband told FOX4 she initially did not buy Tamiflu because it was going to cost $116, even with insurance. He says he returned to buy it for her, but her case highlights an obstacle many face when suddenly needing the anti-viral medication.

Nazneen Chawalwala, a pharmacist at Dougherty's Pharmacy in Dallas, said some people buying Tamiflu may have sticker shock depending on their insurance provider.

“Different insurances have different coverage,” Chawalwala said.

For some insured people, that means Tamiflu could still cost well over $100. She says be sure to insist on a generic.

“There are no manufacturer coupons at all, but again now that it's available as a generic, that really helps with the price,” Chawalwala said.

She says the good news is, unlike the vaccine which may only cover certain strains, Tamiflu covers all flu strains.

As for when to decide to buy it, Chawalwala says absolutely make the purchase if it's within the 48-hour window of getting the flu. But you might want to make a different decision if you’ve had the flu for a few days.

“If you've had symptoms for 4 or 5 days and you are already at the tail end of the flu, you may not get as much benefit,” Chawalwala said. “But ultimately if your doctor thinks it's a good idea, definitely go ahead and get it.”

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