Amid a surge in multiple respiratory illnesses among children throughout the United States, pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy are limiting purchases of children’s pain relief medicines citing supplier challenges and increased consumer demand.
As per reports, Walgreens have limited online purchases to six pain drugs for kids per transaction, but there’s no limit at retail stores at present.
CVS, meanwhile, has put a two-product limit on purchases of all children’s pain relief products in stores and online.
Walgreens reportedly said, “Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, over-the-counter pediatric fever reducing products are seeing constraint across the country… The limits were put into place in an effort to help support availability and avoid excess purchases.”
The country is currently going through a significantly earlier flu season, with respiratory illnesses including the flu, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, and COVID-19 continue to spread.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association or CHPA recently attributed the scarcity of OTC children’s pain relievers at certain retail locations to the recent and rapid increase in demand driven by a?rise in pediatric cases of respiratory illnesses.
CHPA then said that manufacturers of pediatric analgesics, including liquid formulations, are producing at full capacity and directing product inventory to where it is needed most.
The agency also urged parents to follow responsible purchasing practices, noting that media coverage surrounding this issue could prompt parents to “stock up” if a product shortage is perceived or feared – which could eventually cause widespread supply shortages for U.S. Consumers.
Recently, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a telebriefing stated that there is elevated levels of respiratory viruses, and that these levels are higher than generally seen this time of year especially for RSV and flu. He then noted that levels of medical visits with flu like illness were at either high or very high levels in 47 jurisdictions.
Noting that a total of 14 pediatric deaths have been reported just this season till early December, he also urged to give flu vaccines for those at higher risk of severe flu illness, including those who are younger than five years old.
CDC estimates that since October 1, till early December, there were at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4500 deaths from flu. After the Thanksgiving holiday, there was also an expected rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations nationally.
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