In the heightened respiratory virus season, parents are scrambling to find over-the-counter medicines as some pharmacies have placed limits on some children’s pain and fever relief medications.
As the days grow colder, the risks of the tripledemic — flu, RSV and COVID-19 — only get higher for kids. Limits on medicines at local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have some parents concerned over demand so high that stores can’t replenish their shelves fast enough.
“Scary feeling to have just like the outage for the formula,” one parent said.
“Some of the shelves are very bare of anything you need medical-wise,” said parent Karimah Henderson.
CVS Health has placed a two-product limit on all children’s pain relief products bought through its pharmacies or online.
Walgreens is limiting customers online to six purchases of children’s over-the-counter fever-reducing products. That limit doesn’t apply in stores.
Both companies cited shortages due to high demand and supply challenges.
In response, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which represents the drug manufacturers, said, “Supplies of these products are being replenished as quickly as possible, and there is not a widespread shortage in the U.S.”
This year, more than 150,000 people have been hospitalized with the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The RSV hospitalizations rate is about 34 out of 100,000 people but appears to be trending down.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said manufacturers expect the availability to increase in the near future.
“You want to help them and get them what they need, and if they don’t have those resources, that’s a setback for a parent or mom,” Gonzoles said.
Despite the high demand, manufacturers have stressed that there’s no widespread shortage.
Meanwhile, experts recommend consumers try generic medicine or travel to more than one store pharmacy to find medicine in stock.
Experts encourage consumers not to stock up on medicines, only buying the amount they need so it doesn’t lead to a larger shortage.
The CDC says flu activity appears to be declining in some areas.