London pharmacists await government relief for kids pain and fever meds | CBC News


Pharmacies in London say they have yet to receive a single bottle of children’s pain and fever medication from the federal government as part of a relief package from foreign suppliers.

Last week, the government announced it would import a million bottles of children’s medication, including Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, to help ease the ongoing shortage of Advil and Tylenol. The lack of children’s medicine coincides with persistent cases of COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in the community.

“We’re still waiting for those bottles to come in,” said Youssef Srour, co-owner of Oxbury Pharmacy in east London.

As early as August, the pharmacy struggled to supply families with children’s pain and fever medication. Oxbury’s suppliers are frequently out of stock, and limited qualities are being rationed out to families, he added.

“Especially with the flu season and now RSV, hopefully, that will help to alleviate the problem a little.”

Local pharmacists told CBC News parents are frustrated by the ongoing shortage, which is impacted by supply chain issues and manufacturers struggling to meet demands. Across Canada, some store shelves are also short on adult cough and cold medication, oral antibiotics and eye drops.

“You occasionally hear that a pharmacy may have received a small supply of it [children’s medication]. But within minutes, it’s out again,” said Rudy Liem, manager at London Care Pharmacy.

The pharmacy is expecting medication from the government, but Liem says a distribution plan has not been communicated yet.

Infant and children’s Tylenol is pictured on a shelf at London Drugs in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, May 26, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Health Canada said distribution of the medication would be handled by the province’s respective public health authorities. However, the Middlesex-London Health Unit told CBC News they are not involved in the distribution of children’s medication to pharmacies.

Liem said pharmacies would limit supplies of children’s medication or tell parents to compound doses of adult medication. The doses would be recommended based on a child’s age and weight.

“There are actually pharmacies in London that are able to compound or make liquid Tylenol, but that comes at a price, he said. “So if parents are able to split tablets and then crush them and mix them into something like applesauce, they’re able to get around the shortage of liquid Tylenol.”

“We try to work around what we have from the other Tylenol and Advil,” said Nivin Mehanni, owner and managing pharmacist at Proudfoot Pharmacy.

Mehanni said they’re one of the pharmacies still expecting Canada’s relief package and are working around the supply shortage by compounding medicines for children.

“I hope it arrives. I hope it will be done,” she said.


With files from Alessio Donnini and Angela McInnes

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