Flu season: Most HMO formularies cover Tamiflu, Relenza

As the influenza season approaches, managed care patient access to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) from Roche Laboratories and Relenza (zanamivir) from GlaxoSmithKline, the two medications indicated for influenza, looks relatively open. To be specific, when combining the following formulary statuses — non-formulary/covered, on formulary/approved/first or second tier, and prior authorization — over 90 percent of managed care patients currently have access to these two medications. This is according to MediMedia's Formulary Compass, which monitors more than 1,200 HMO formularies.

Roche, for one, is planning a promotional campaign that lets the public know that flu can be treated and that prompt initiation of therapy is important.

The Food and Drug Administration will focus on manufacturers' promotional efforts in this area, ensuring that manufacturers do not overstate the efficacy of their brands.

Now it's just a matter of stocking up on tissues and washing your hands often.

Current Formulary Access for Flu Medications (% of HMOs)


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