Price of Tamiflu an obstacle for some flu patients

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COLUMBIA – If you or your family are suffering from the flu for the first time this season, you could also be suffering from sticker shock.  That's because the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, could cost you anywhere between $10 to $150.

“Tamiflu is expensive,” Kassidy Cupp said.

Cupp is a Columbia resident who got the flu this season.

Dan Cornell, a pharmacist at Flow’s Pharmacy in Columbia, said the price of Tamiflu depends on your insurance company. 

“You are looking to pay about $100 out of pocket for the Tamiflu, maybe more, maybe less,” Cornell said. “It really only depends on your insurance.”

“I went to the doctor and he prescribed me Tamiflu,” Cupp said. “He honestly pushed it and pushed it until where I really couldn’t say no.”

Cupp relies on her family’s insurance plan for her normal visits to the doctor. But she said her trip for the flu, surprised her. The prescription cost for the Tamiflu was almost $100. Cupp said if her debit card would have been declined, she wouldn't have known what to do.

“I guess I would have just been miserable,” Cupp said. “I don’t understand why a necessary drug can cost one person only $10 while I have to pay almost 10 times that.”

Cornell said there are no manufacturer coupons, but it is available in the generic. 

“You could save a couple of bucks, but not a whole lot,” Cornell said.

As for when to decide to buy it, officials said to 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.

Candice Ray, a Columbia resident is also affected by the flu. Ray's insurance doesn't cover the anti-viral medication so she is left making a tough choice.

"Either I pay my utility bill and I don't get the meds," Ray said. "Or I don't pay my utility bills and I become healthy. I feel like I lose."

“Tamiflu is expensive, but if someone needs it, they will find a way to get it,” Cornell said. “I’d even work with someone if I have to.”