After the shortage of toilet paper and baby food, children’s medicines based on ibuprofen and paracetamol for pain and fever are running out. Empty shelves of Tylenol, Advil, Motrin and Tempra in some pharmacies are a headache for parents.
Posted at 5:00 am
“We receive these drugs in small drops,” confirms Benoit Morin, president of the Quebec Association of Proprietary Pharmacists. We are talking about a partial shortage, but not a complete shortage, which means that pharmacies do not have all formats, all flavors and all concentrations. »
If you’re looking for a specific brand or flavor, you may not find it.
Benoit Morin, President of the Quebec Association of Proprietary Pharmacists
The makers of ibuprofen-based Advil and Motrin and acetaminophen-based Tylenol and Tempra say they are facing unprecedented demand. Private labels (also called “house brands”), on the other hand, can be found in pharmacies without too much difficulty.
Bertrand Bolduc, president of the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec, says the surge in demand began in the winter when many children contracted COVID-19. And now that hygiene measures are being relaxed, other respiratory viruses have started to circulate.
In this connection, parents rushed to pharmacies to get painkillers and antipyretics.
“I wouldn’t blame the manufacturers too much because nobody saw the COVID waves coming,” says Bolduc. At the beginning of the pandemic, children were less affected by the coronavirus and suffered fewer symptoms. On the other hand, the new variants seemed to affect young children more. »
A problem soon solved?
Benoit Morin argues that manufacturers have already started ramping up production. By the end of the summer, the shortage should subside, he believes.
“North America is a big area. It doesn’t take a large percentage increase in demand to create what’s happening. These are products that are limited in time. There is an expiry date so there is never a large excess. »
The pharmacist also warns parents who will opt for a substitute drug if they cannot find the usual one. “When switching medications, there is a risk of mistakes. If you are used to giving 80mg/ml drops but change the syrup to 80mg/5ml, the concentration will not be the same. Parents have to be careful,” he says.
The expert confirms that this scarcity leads to uncertainty among parents. “But that uncertainty shouldn’t make everyone buy it. Well, that must not happen. People need to be sure that we will have enough. »
” I am tired ”
Jessica Goulet visited her Costco and three nearby Walmart stores to find Advil for her baby in Beauce. The four companies didn’t have the product she was looking for. “I finally found some on the Amazon site,” explains the mother of two.
Mme Goulet is particularly upset about the lack of essential children’s products. She says that since February she has traveled no less than 400 miles to find a hypoallergenic formula for her baby.
“I’m tired, my God, yes! I’m exhausted from all these shortages. My baby was born on November 23rd and has been constantly ill since February. »
“Tylenol and Advil are important. From 6 months children have fever to nothing. They have a cold, they have a fever. They are teething, they have a fever,” explains this mother, who is also a nurse and says she only uses medication in cases of force majeure.
Carolane Morasse, she went to a Jean Coutu urgently earlier in the week to relieve her daughter’s ear infection. Instead of finding Tylenol, she came across a large blue sign that said “Product Out of Stock”.
“I was lucky because I went to the pharmacist and he told me I could switch for adult Tylenol since my daughter was 10 years old. It relieved me! says this woman from Donnacona.
“It’s the same with us. [les adultes], she continues. If you’re in pain anywhere, you’re used to having Tylenol or Advil on hand. When we run out, it can become irritating and we can become irritable. »