SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia is ranked the sickest state in the United States, with South Carolina coming in at a close second.
Georgia's flu-related death numbers continue to rise. As of February 12th, there have been 66 confirmed flu-related deaths in Georgia. 13 of those deaths are in the Southeast Georgia area with nine in Chatham County. Flu cases have risen across the area, unchecked due to a shortage of Tamiflu, a medication given to patients with the flu.
Now that more generic brands of the drug are in pharmacies, it's easier for people to find the medication and at a cheaper price.
"When I got up that morning I couldn't hardly swallow," said Sandy Rodriguez. "I was achy all over. And my head was hurting."
Rodriguez woke up a week ago with symptoms of the flu. After a doctor visit and a prescription for the generic form of Tamiflu, she is back at work. Her pharmacist said she isn't the only one making their way to the pharmacy.
"We have had hundreds, literally hundreds of patients come through the pharmacy in the past four to six weeks getting flu medication," said Al Dixon, pharmacist at Richmond Hill Pharmacy.
Dixon says the shortage was caused by supply and the rise in flu cases.
"Most supplies are back in stock now," said Dixon. "So, most pharmacies do have the capsules and the liquid for the children. Occasionally we will have a sporadic shortage for a day or two and then we get more supplies in."
Dixon said the different generic medications for Tamiflu cost about 20 percent less than the brand itself. We checked with local pharmacies to get their price on Tamiflu and the generic brand. Without insurance, Tamiflu costs between $160.00 and $185.00. The generic forms cost between $100.00 and $155.00.