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Flu season, COVID and other viruses mean medication is in demand

Kristin Schwab Dec 27, 2022
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While some stores are limiting purchases of flu medications to avoid panic buying, others are facing shortages. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Flu season, COVID and other viruses mean medication is in demand

Kristin Schwab Dec 27, 2022
Heard on:
While some stores are limiting purchases of flu medications to avoid panic buying, others are facing shortages. Mario Tama/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

If you have a sick kid at home, this is something you may already know all too well: The country is facing shortages of Children’s Tylenol and other medicines.

Flu season has hit early, combined with a spike in COVID, respiratory infections and other viruses, it’s a perfect storm, said Sterling Elliott, a clinical pharmacist and a professor at Northwestern University.

“The symptoms are the same regardless of what the actual bug is that’s causing the problem,” said Elliot.

It means people are reaching for the same medications, so manufacturers are running short and some stores are limiting purchases. The limits are to avoid panic buying, according to Hui Zhao, who researches pharmaceutical supply chains at Penn State.

“So, once people feel like, ‘Oh this must be on shortage,’ and they rush to buy more,” she said.

Drug shortages are usually either a supply or a demand problem, and “this one seemingly to be more of the demand problem,” Zhao added.

Unlike the recent baby formula shortage, there aren’t problems with the supply chain. Manufacturers just need a little time to catch up.

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