Most of the flu vaccine is going to grocery stores and drug stores. “The N.C. Academy of Family Physicians conducted a survey in which 85 percent of the 240 doctors interviewed said they hadn’t gotten vaccine despite placing orders in the spring.

Dr. Christopher Snyder III of Cabarrus Family Medicine said doctors are frustrated that they have to tell patients to go to large grocery and drug stores to get flu shots. His practice has 70,000 patients at seven offices. “

The same thing is happening in New Hampshire. Physicians’ orders were cut, but the shopping malls seem to have plenty of vaccine.

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  • Anonymous

    I have a clinic here in the Southwest and I placed my order in April,2005 for 1200 flu shots. My supplier said he doesn’t know if I can get any at all. I told my diabetic, copd ,asthmatic patients 2 weeks ago to go to Walgreens or CVS pharmacy. I believe that there is an artificial shortage to make it profitable for these retail giants. As I’ve said earlier, the only way they can maintain the price at $25 to $30 is not to give the clinics the vaccine. Or, its just plain greed. I don’t have a problem with these retail outlets giving the shots, but not at the expense of withholding it from us.
    There is something going on out there that’s not right.

  • Anonymous

    I am in Delaware, and the same situation is present here. Most of the flu vaccine has been bought up by Maxim Health Care, a large company out of Columbia, MD. They are running flu shot clinics at pharmacies, grocery stores, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. Most private physicians in my community haven’t received their orders and have to stand in line at the drug store with their patients to get a shot for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I seem to recall reading an article recently, I don’t know if it was here, the WSJ or Mass Med Society or where it might have been, but apparently some obsure rule at the SEC prevents pharma’s from reporting revenue on vaccines until it’s actually been delivered to the doctors office. Maybe it’s different for Walgreen’s, CVS, Wal-Mart (I even saw an add for a flu clinic at a Sears store!). If so, this could have something to do with it.

  • Anonymous

    I think that if you don’t have health insurance, having the vaccine at Sears is cheaper than going to the doctor. If you have health insurance, the copay alone can be as expensive as the vaccine.
    I decided that this year is the last time when I order flu vaccine. In the future I will just send my patients to the local store.

  • dr john

    The cherry-picking by the grocery stores is scandalous, and the insurance companies don’t care.
    Well-insured patients obtain their flu shots at gocery stores for “free”, meaning the insurance company is billed directly for $25 – 30.
    Poorly-insured HMO patients are sent back to me to give the shot for $15 – 18, which is about the overhead cost.
    Docs who didn’t obtain the flu vaccine this year may end up better than those of us who did.

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