Updated
July 26th, 2019

Popular Flu Medication Moving OTC

Tamiflu marketing switch from Genentech to Sanofi in the USA

tamiflu capsules

The over-the-counter (OTC) marketing rights to Tamiflu® has been awarded to Sanofi for the prevention and treatment of influenza (flu) in the USA.

Under the terms of the agreement announced in a press release on July 23, 2019, Sanofi will be responsible for leading FDA negotiations for the OTC switch and subsequent exclusive marketing, scientific engagement and distribution of Tamiflu OTC in the US. 

This is important news since if you get sick with flu, consumers are only able to treat flu symptoms with OTC products without a prescription from a doctor. 

Additionally, antiviral drugs are a treatment option, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   

But, access to antiviral medications has been identified as a treatment hindrance, because in most countries, antiviral drugs require a prescription from a healthcare provider. 

As an example, over 48 million people in the USA suffered from an influenza virus during the 2017-2018 flu season. But, only about 7 million of these flu cases were treated with an effective product like Tamiflu in 2017. 

Alan Main, Executive Vice President, Consumer Healthcare, Sanofi, said: “Tamiflu will offer a significant public health benefit once switched by providing increased access to a safe and efficacious treatment for the prevention and treatment of flu.”   

“People would be able to either reduce their chances of getting the flu or, at the first signals, appropriately treat as early as possible during the crucial first 48 hours without having to wait for a doctor’s appointment.” 

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There are four FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by CDC to treat flu this season:

  • oseltamivir phosphate (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®),
  • zanamivir (trade name Relenza®)
  • peramivir (trade name Rapivab®), and
  • baloxavir marboxil (trade name Xofluza®).

Flu vaccine news

Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for getting an annual flu vaccine. 

While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, a flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications. 

Most pharmacies in the USA offer various flu OTC medicines, medications, and vaccines. To help those without access to insurance programs, financial assistance programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.

Tamiflu is currently sold in the USA by Genentech. And, Roche will continue to market Tamiflu in the rest of the world.

Sanofi is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.