KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

This Year’s Flu Season Could Add To Economy’s Woes

Economists are predicting that this year's unusually early and strong flu season could be a drain on the current quarter's GDP numbers.

Marketplace: Flu Season Could Cost Economy Billions
The flu came early and it came on strong this year and that could weaken an economy that's not in the best of health as it is. The Centers for Disease Control says your typical flu season -- and this may not be -- costs employers over $10 billion, just in direct doctor and hospital visits alone. The $10 billion doesn't even count lost productivity. Economists say an exceptionally strong flu season could undercut an already struggling U.S. economy (Gardner, 1/10).

The New York Times: Children's Flu Medicine In Short Supply
Pharmacies around the country have reported dwindling supplies of liquid Tamiflu, a prescription flu medicine that can ease symptoms if taken within 48 hours of their onset. The drug is available in capsules for adults and a liquid suspension for children and infants. “There are intermittent shortages of the liquid version (but not the capsule version) due to the supplier’s challenges to meet the current demand,” Carolyn Castel, a spokeswomen for CVS Caremark, said (O'Connor, 1/10).

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