The increase in cases of flu and Covid-19 infections this month, along with high levels of childhood respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV infections, has led to high demand for cold and flu medicines for children this year. The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration says his agency is working with growers to improve supply, but the current demand is unprecedented.
“We are urging people not to buy more than they need because it is enough for the amount of disease. It is that the moment it is sent, it is bought. And if people buy more than they need and everyone it does. that, then the people who need the products won’t be able to get them,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf told CNBC.
The unprecedented demand has led some of the country’s largest drugstore chains to limit purchases to ensure there is enough supply for parents in need. this week CVS Health began limiting purchases to two over-the-counter pain and fever medicine products for children in store and online. Walgreens i Rite Aid they have limited online purchases of some items, but not in store. A Walmart spokesperson told CNBC that it does not have purchase limits for pediatric pain and fever products.
Johnson & Johnsonone of the country’s largest makers of children’s pain medication, says it has ramped up production around the clock to meet unprecedented demand and is working with retailers to ensure there is more supply in areas where the demand is higher.
“While products may be less available in some stores, we are not experiencing a widespread shortage of Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Motrin,” a J&J spokesperson said in a statement, adding “we recognize that this may be a challenge for parents and caregivers, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure people have access to the products they need.”
On Wednesday, the Biden administration said it would release doses of Tamiflu, the prescription flu antiviral drug, from national stockpiles to help maintain adequate supplies during the current flu season. However, the government does not have a stockpile of over-the-counter drugs.
The FDA commissioner says his agency is working with manufacturers to make sure the necessary supply of children’s drugs reaches the areas where they are needed most. He added that buying more is a challenge right now because other countries in the northern hemisphere are experiencing similar demand.
“The global supply is greater than ever, but the demand is even greater,” said Dr. Califf said. “We have not seen the need for demand as high as it is now at any time in our recorded history.”