The country’s two drugstore giants — CVS and Walgreens — have limited purchases of over-the-counter children’s fever reducers amid a harrowing cold and flu season.
A CVS spokesperson confirmed by email to Supply Chain Dive that the retailer had set a limit of two products for children’s pain relievers at all its pharmacy locations.
“We’re committed to meeting our customers’ needs and are working with our suppliers to ensure continued access to these items,” the company said in a statement.
Walgreens has also limited purchases. The drugstore chain has put a cap of six purchases of over-the-counter pediatric fever reducers on each online purchase to “prevent excess purchasing behavior,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Sample online searches showed out-of-stocks for name-brand children's acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and other products, at CVS and Walgreens stores around the country.
Walgreens said that retailers are “experiencing supplier fulfillment challenges due to increased demand” of fever reducers.
The purchasing curbs come amid record levels of respiratory illnesses. “Tripledemic” become a byword during the season, as flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19 circulate at levels far higher than anticipated.
According to data from the Catalina Shopper Intelligence Platform, unit sales of children’s analgesics (which includes acetaminophen and ibuprofen) are up 69% year over year, and prices are up 16%.
Along with fever reducers, the Federal Drug Administration has issued a notice of a shortage of a form of amoxicillin widely used to treat infections in children as well as localized shortages of an antiviral medicine commonly known as Tamiflu.