Walgreens Limits Sales Of Kids Medicines As Severe Illnesses Soar

By Brian Scheid | Published

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Last week we reported on a story about a mother from Colorado whose 5-year-old daughter needed medication for an ear infection. The mother had to call around to every pharmacy within a 45-minute driving radius before she finally found one that carried the amoxicillin her daughter needed. During the research for that story, both CVS and Walgreens both commented that there was not a supply shortage of the medications it was simply not having enough of the product in the right places, but that no longer seems to be the case.

Walgreens committed to taking a deeper dive into its distribution chain to figure out why there were not enough of the needed medications in certain pockets of the country. As it turns out, that wasn’t the issue at all, and in fact, there was a shortage of medicine to be distributed. Consequently, both Walgreens and CVS are instituting purchasing limits on many children’s pain relief medications.

According to CNBC, “CVS said it is limiting the number of pain relief medications to two. Walgreens customers can buy six over-the-counter pediatric fever reducers.” That is a stark contrast to the tune they were singing last week. At this point, it is unclear whether it is more concerning that there is a medication shortage or that it took customers asking questions as to why certain children’s medications were not readily available for those companies to figure out there was indeed a shortage.

The latter is a concerning issue that should absolutely be addressed. The public trusts these pharmacy companies to have on hand the medications they need when they need them. It’s almost unthinkable that, presently, one could go to any pharmacy and it would be completely out of a specific medication, especially medications for children.

The Food and Drug Administration also issued a statement on the shortage that said, “[The agency] can’t require companies to manufacture medications, but it is working closely with drugmakers to understand, mitigate and prevent or reduce the impact of intermittent or increased demand of certain products.” They also mentioned that manufacturers are expecting these medications will be available in stores soon.

This has been a difficult season for viruses. And experts have titled the collection of illnesses circulating a “tripledemic” because of the combination of Flu, RSV, and Covid 19 infections all happening simultaneously. This is exacerbating the children’s medication shortages at Walgreens and CVS.

Contrary to Walgreens and CVS, Walmart doesn’t seem to be feeling the medication squeeze. The strangest piece of this shortage comes from a statement from Walmart that reads, “…although the company has seen higher demand for pediatric medication this year, it has been able to meet that demand, and no purchase limits are in place.” The real question is, does Walmart have a huge back supply that they haven’t been drained like the other two chain pharmacies?

Whatever the problem, it doesn’t change the fact that if you need children’s pain relief medication make sure to be familiar with the limits being imposed by Walgreens and CVS. This situation may have shed light on a major country deficiency that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the shortages will be alleviated sooner rather than later to avoid a full-blown crisis that could potentially lead to loss of life.