‘Bare shelves:’ 1 month later, shortages of children’s painkillers persist in parts of British Columbia – BC

More than a month after Health Canada confirmed a shortage of children’s liquid ibuprofen and acetaminophen products in several provinces, pharmacy shelves in parts of British Columbia remain empty.

Dr. Anna Wolak, a family physician in Vancouver, said she has seen “empty shelves” recently as manufacturers grapple with supply chain issues and try to catch up with increased demand.

“We still don’t get enough raw materials to make the formulation that ends up on the shelves,” the assistant clinical professor at the University of British Columbia told Global News.

Demand is unlikely to drop any time soon, she added, as the school year progresses, cold and flu season begins and more children are vaccinated, which creates a demand for drugs that numb pain and fever.

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In August, Health Canada confirmed the shortage was due to “significantly higher than normal demand” and said it was working with other federal departments, provinces, territories, businesses and stakeholders to identify options for ‘mitigation.

At the time, he told Global News that regulatory measures to expedite a resupply were not off the table. The Federal Department was unable to meet the Wednesday deadline for comment on this story.

In a recent update on its Canadian website, Tylenol acknowledged the frustration some customers may be feeling and said staff at its Canadian manufacturing facility are “working hard to ramp up production.”

“Our site operates 24/7 and products are shipped across Canada every day,” he said.

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Health Matters: Managing Canada’s Drug Supply

Health Matters: Managing Canada’s Drug Supply – August 25, 2022

In August, Wolak and Vancouver pharmacist Barbara Gobis urged parents in British Columbia not to stock up while the shortage persists, noting that other ibuprofen and acetaminophen products remain widely available.

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“The specific product that a parent might like or traditionally use in their children may, from time to time, not be available, but there is no shortage of other products that can be used,” Gobis said. , who is also director of pharmacists at UBC. Clinic, said Wednesday.

“So we just encourage if a parent can’t find what they want to ask at the pharmacy counter and solutions will be provided.”

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Parents are encouraged to look for children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen chewables rather than liquids, or to opt for an unbranded medication if their usual brand is out of stock. Some pharmacists have large bottles of liquid behind the shelves which they can also decant into smaller bottles on request.

If there are no children’s formulations available at all, Wolak advised parents to speak to a pharmacist, nurse or doctor about alternatives depending on their child’s weight.

“Together they can calculate the dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen that can be given, and sometimes that’s done with the adult formulation because it’s easier to find,” she explained.

“However, this needs to be done very carefully with a lot of calculations involved, so it needs to be done in conjunction with a medical professional.”

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However, parents are advised not to use aspirin instead, as it is – in rare cases – linked to Reye’s syndrome, which causes swelling of the liver and brain and can be fatal.

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Scarcity of painkillers for children – August 20, 2022

Global News has contacted the BC Ministry of Health for comment on this article and will update it when a response is received. In a previous interview, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province’s public health system supplies were “adequate”.

“We are obviously monitoring this carefully and the more supply we can get the better. Some health systems have had problems… That hasn’t been the case so far in British Columbia,” he said Aug. 19.

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Some children’s painkillers are in short supply, but pharmacists say a prescription isn’t necessary

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With demand for children’s liquid painkillers only expected to increase in the coming months, Wolak said she “wouldn’t hold (her) breath” for a plentiful supply to return to drugstore shelves.

However, with promises of accelerated manufacturing from suppliers, Gobis said it had hope.

“We know that supplies take a while to travel through the supply chain to store shelves and that there are intermittent shortages of product from time to time, depending on local demand,” a- she explained.

“What you’re seeing is not a sign of a problem coming, it’s actually just a problem getting better.”

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