The shortage of medicines for children could last all winter

“When do you call this an emergency?” : Kyro Maseh, Owner, Lawlor Pharmacy

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A months-long shortage of painkillers for children has led pharmacists to warn that near-empty shelves could persist well into winter as respiratory infections rise.

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“When do you call this an emergency?” asked Kyro Maseh, owner of Lawlor Pharmacy in Toronto. “I have parent after parent where the child has a fever of 40 degrees, and it’s been four days. One after another arrives. And hospitals – you know what happens in hospitals.

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He said masks in schools would help control the spread of respiratory illnesses among children.

Pharmacies are short of pediatric ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

But over the past two weeks they have noticed an increasingly scarce supply of the antibiotic amoxicillin.

“If you go to some pharmacies, you will see that some still have empty shelves and some that have full shelves,” said Pharmacists Association CEO Justin Bates.

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Summer demand for these drugs has increased by 300%, according to the association.

“I don’t think it’s going to rectify itself,” Bates said. “I think we are going to face this type of shortage throughout the winter.”

Manufacturers, he said, have recently increased production by 34%.

“We continue to experience increased consumer demand with certain products and markets, and we are taking all possible steps to ensure product availability, including maximizing domestic production,” manufacturer Johnson and Johnson said in a statement. . “We are working closely with Health Canada on options that include importing a limited amount of product from our global supply on a temporary exception basis.”

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Not all outlets have noticed an improvement in months.

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Alex Mihaila, owner of Mr. Pharmacist, said he has asked colleagues from other parts of the province to sell him some of their inventory.

“We are entering the colder months, the viruses are rampant, the increase is really not enough to fill this void,” he said.

For families, there is concern that medication may not be available as RSV, influenza and COVID soar at the same time.

“Fortunately, I haven’t needed painkillers recently. But I’m sure parents are completely scared, frustrated and confused as to why this is happening,” said Amanda Chigumira, pushing her son Mal-akhi in a stroller past a pharmacy on Danforth Avenue.

  1. A vial of amoxicillin, a prescription drug, without the patient's name.

    Health Canada warns of a shortage of certain antibiotics for children

  2. Alexander Mihaila, owner of Mr. Pharmacist in Toronto, said he noticed a distinct shortage of cold and flu medication for children.  And it's been weeks.

    Pharmacists fear running out of children’s cold medicine due to shortage

  3. Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital.

    Parents will need a prescription for children’s liquid Tylenol due to shortage: Sick Kids

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Health Canada said it was trying to fix the persistent problem.

“Manufacturers supplying the Canadian market have significantly increased production, with some producing at record highs,” the department said in a statement.

He added that he had “recently approved the exceptional importation of ibuprofen from the United States and acetaminophen from Australia to supply hospitals in Canada”.

SickKids said it is “able to maintain an adequate supply of these medications to meet the needs of our hospitalized patients. The situation is changing rapidly and we continue to closely monitor the supply of these drugs. »

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Twitter: @_ScottLaurie

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