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Doctors React To Lack Of Liquid Tamiflu

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Parents of small children who come down with the flu can't get Tamiflu, the main antiviral medication, in liquid form. Some San Diego doctors say that's causing difficulties.

— Parents of small children who come down with the flu can't get Tamiflu, the main antiviral medication, in liquid form. Some San Diego doctors say that's causing difficulties.

Children under the age of five aren't expected to swallow pills. But the drug company Roche, which makes Tamiflu, has stopped making its pediatric liquid formula. Dr. John Bradley, who is with Rady Children's Hospital, said Roche is making only adult capsules because they're easier to produce in large quantities to meet the demand created by swine flu.

He said pharmacies have to grind up the adult capsules to make a suspended liquid that can be used by children.

"So although there may be a shortage of a pediatric suspension," said Bradley, "a suspension can be made from adult capsules, and there is no shortage of adult capsules.

Some doctors have complained that grinding up adult capsules takes a long time and can make Tamiflu very expensive. Bradley said Roche will begin making their children's formulas again, later in the flu season.

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