Because of shortages in children’s medicine, Walgreens and CVS both announced purchase limits on children’s pain- and fever-reducers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- The U.S. is in a “tripledemic”—the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID are all prevalent.
- The increase in children using pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) to fight one of these viruses has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
- Supply of pain medications has not been able to meet demand, and thus pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are rationing the supply.
- And there’s an antibiotics shortage, mainly of amoxicillin—used for treating secondary infections caused by viral infections.
why it’s important
Unlike the baby-formula shortage this fall, which was a supply issue created by a plant shutdown, this one’s about increased demand. And the sudden increase in demand results in not enough supply.
Some drugs are generally more vulnerable to shortage due to a lack of economic incentives to produce them, reports STAT News.
Sometimes, manufacturing disruptions, labor issues, or ingredient shortages will reduce availability, says STAT News. And while the U.S. is a major developer of medications, it is dependent on other countries for either key ingredients or for manufacturing the drugs.
“Many of the raw ingredients that go into making drugs are sourced from just two countries, China and India,” Resilinc CEO Bindiya Vakil tells The Hustle. “Any disruption in China or India, such as work stoppage at a factory due to China’s strict zero-COVID policy, which was only recently eased, may have a ripple effect on the supplies of many products, including medications.”
So even if production is going as planned, it is difficult to ramp up supply when there is a sudden jump in demand, as the U.S. is experiencing.
And why the increase in kids catching these three ailments? One factor is that people have been wearing masks the last two winters and therefore have not been exposed to viruses.