Demand for over-the-counter pain and fever relief medicines for children has risen after a "tripledemic" of infections, causing shortages at some chain pharmacies.
According to local media reports, stores aren’t able to restock their shelves fast enough, causing particular concern for some parents now that the risks are higher for colds and the spread of flu, RSV and Covid-19.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents drug manufacturers, said that "supplies of these products are being replenished as quickly as possible and there is no widespread shortage in the US.” However, a Walgreens spokesperson expressed that suppliers are experiencing "several challenges" to meet the high demand for pediatric products out there and even asked to limit purchases.
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) December 21, 2022
"In an effort to help support availability and avoid excess purchases, we put into effect an online only purchase limit of six per online transaction for all over-the-counter pediatric fever reducers," the spokesperson said.
CVS spokeswoman Mary Gattuso also reported that stores had to create a product limit to ensure "equal access for all our customers."
Shelves that look "ransacked”
Some parents said they have had to go to several stores to find medicine for their children. "The children's Tylenol and Motrin looked ransacked," Dr. Vineet Arora told today.com after seeking medical supplies for her 2-year-old son.
Tried getting RSV meds for my kids today, this was the shelf at Rite Aid. The pediatricians are completely overwhelmed, my first kid was 76 in line at 8am and my second can't be seen pic.twitter.com/yih6sKs0ga
— Michael Noronha (@MichaelNoronha5) December 23, 2022
Another mother called the situation "shocking" and said that it is "really wild" to have to go to several stores before finding products that could be considered household staples. "Some of the shelves are very bare anything you need medical-wise," expressed Karimah Henderson.
Demand increased 65%
According to a CHPA release, sales of pediatric fever-reducing and pain-relieving products are up 65% compared to November of last year.
It's getting bad out there: widespread national shortage of kids #Tylenol, #Motrin, #amoxicillin. This is what I found last night when looking for meds for my little guy @PhRMA @US_FDA @AmerAcadPeds pic.twitter.com/dlwkXDGI1L
— Jesse Ehrenfeld MD MPH (@DoctorJesseMD) December 22, 2022
"That demand is really unusual, unlike what we've seen in years, so we are seeing some of those mismatches," Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator, said recently during an interview for today.com.