Supply issues still plague kids’ pain medicine, antibiotics. Why parents continue to struggle

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Parents in Canada looking for children’s pain medicine or antibiotics may still be out of luck as some pharmacies remain under pressure from supply shortages, according to experts.

Although supplies of pediatric drugs are set to stabilize through 2022, these drugs may still be difficult to find, explained Danielle Pace, chief pharmacologist officer for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

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“When it comes to children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen shortages in particular, it looks like the worse is behind us,” she said.

“However, we are still facing supply challenges. So I would say to parents and carers that if you go to the pharmacy and the medicine is not on the shelf, speak to the pharmacist as it is possible that They might have it behind the counter… or talk about alternatives you can buy.”

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She said parents may still have to shop around because it is still hit or miss if pharmacy shelves are stocked with essential pain relievers or antibiotics.

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“If you don’t find it at one pharmacy, just check at another pharmacy, because we’re finding who has it in stock varies,” she said. “You may still have to hunt for it but generally speaking it’s improved a lot since last fall.”

Since last summer, infant and children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen products were flying off the shelves in retail stores, pharmacies and hospitals across Canada.

At the time, Health Canada said the shortfall was due to unprecedented demand, as pediatricians saw an unusually early increase in viral illnesses in the spring and summer months of 2022.

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In November, to meet skyrocketing demand for children’s cold and flu medicine, manufacturers increased production by 30 percent, and the federal government ordered more than one million bottles from other countries.

Now that the flu and cold season is almost over, Paes said demand is starting to return to normal.

“But we are still facing discrepancies in the stock,” she said. “In general, supply challenges are having the most significant impact on our pediatric drugs.”

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Nicole McNaught, a mom who lives in Port Perry, Ontario, said her 10-month-old son recently started teething, so she went to buy him infant Tylenol a few weeks ago. He could not find any stock in the pharmacies of his city.

She called the situation “frustrating” because shopping for the right medicine with a teething baby is so stressful.

“When I’m up with my baby at 2 a.m., who wants to measure and juggle how much (the equivalent) of Children’s Tylenol she needs?” He said.

Luckily, she said, her husband works in Pickering, and was able to get two bottles (the store had a purchase limit) in town on his way home from work one evening.

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“It was 30 kilometers from my house,” McNaught said. “We are lucky enough because he leaves the city every day, but what about the families who don’t leave the city? Not everyone has that luxury.

In addition to a shortage of children’s pain medication starting in October 2022, shortages of antibiotics, primarily amoxicillin, have also been reported across Canada. According to the Canadian Pharmacists Association,

Similarly, shortages of antibiotics are the result of huge demand driven by an increase in respiratory infections, especially in children, the association said.

Kristen Watt, a pharmacist and owner of Kristen’s Pharmacy in Southampton, Ontario, said supplies of pediatric fever relievers are coming in slower than usual.

“It’s not like you can order whatever you want and it always shows up. But we have supplies in stock,” she said.

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But, as with antibiotics, she said, the drugs run on backorder.

“And this means that on any particular day, I may not be able to order a particular antibiotic that I need to supply to a family who has a prescription for it,” Watt explained.

“So we have to go back to the doctor and understand what the prescriptions were and suggest an alternative that we can pursue at this time.”

Shortages of pediatric medicines are being reported across the country.

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Nova Scotia’s Pharmacy Association told Granthshala News on Thursday that although supply is improving, it has not returned to normal levels.

“Pharmacies have more inventory but it is still highly variable,” Allison Bodnar, the association’s CEO, said in an email.

Supply tensions are affecting Alberta as well.

It’s still a toss-up if pharmacies will carry children’s pain relievers or antibiotics, said Jody Shkrobot, clinical assistant professor at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“There’s less demand, but it’s hit or miss, sometimes there will be 12 bottles available and then it’s gone immediately,” he said. “Antibiotics are still a challenge with amoxicillin, as we keep seeing manufacturers push back the deadlines.”

Granthshala News contacted Health Canada about the drug shortage and the government agency said that as of March 15, seven of the eight companies that market prescription amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanic…

Supply issues still plague kids’ pain medicine, antibiotics. Why parents continue to struggle

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