Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat or help prevent the flu (influenza). Tamiflu’s cost may depend on factors such as your dosage, whether you have health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.
Tamiflu is used in adults and children ages 2 weeks and older to treat the seasonal flu (influenza). Doctors also prescribe Tamiflu in adults and children ages 1 year and older to help prevent the seasonal flu.
Tamiflu comes as both an oral capsule and as a powder that your pharmacist prepares as a liquid solution that you swallow. Both contain the active ingredient oseltamivir. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
For more details on Tamiflu, see this in-depth article.
The price you pay for Tamiflu can vary. It may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage (if you have it), and the pharmacy you use.
To find out how much you’ll pay for Tamiflu, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Note: If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover Tamiflu. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss Tamiflu in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether the drug is covered. If Tamiflu requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.
Be sure to ask your insurance company whether Tamiflu requires prior authorization.
Tamiflu is available as the generic drug oseltamivir. A generic contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered just as safe and effective as the original drug but tends to cost less.
To find out how the costs of Tamiflu and oseltamivir compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
If you’ve been prescribed Tamiflu and you’re interested in taking oseltamivir instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer that you take one version instead of the other. In addition, you’ll need to check with your insurance provider. This is because it may only cover one drug or the other.
Why is there such a cost difference between brand-name drugs and generics?
Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell the drug for up to 20 years. After that, other drugmakers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.
Most people will take Tamiflu for 5–10 days, but some people may need to take it long term. If you need to take Tamiflu long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:
Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of Tamiflu if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of Tamiflu. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for Tamiflu. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through mail order. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.
If you need help covering the cost of Tamiflu or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:
On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tamiflu and cost.
Does Medicare cover the cost of Tamiflu?
Depending on your Medicare insurance plan, Tamiflu may be covered. Speak with your pharmacist or insurance provider to find out how much you will pay for Tamiflu.
How does the cost of Tamiflu compare with the cost of Relenza?
Relenza may cost more than Tamiflu because it comes in a different form. Different drug forms are associated with different costs. Tamiflu comes as an oral capsule or as a powder your pharmacist prepares as a liquid suspension that you swallow. Relenza comes as a powder that you inhale through your mouth.
Tamiflu is also available in a lower-cost generic version (oseltamivir), and Relenza is not available as a generic.
To find out how much you would pay for Relenza versus Tamiflu, talk with your pharmacist.
If you still have questions about the cost of Tamiflu, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for Tamiflu.
Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:
- Are there other lower-cost, brand-name flu medications I could take instead of Tamiflu?
- How can I lower my cost for Tamiflu without taking the generic version?
- How does the cost of the flu vaccine compare with the cost of Tamiflu for helping prevent the flu?
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.