Feds’ kids’ medication a ‘drop in the bucket’: Pharmacist

Like many parents, Lyndsey Watson has been contending with a major shortage of cold and flu medicine for her children this fall.

“That’s been, like, the number one challenge, I think, for everyone in our community.” said the Qualicum mother of four. “It’s been really difficult to get our hands on a boot of Tylenol.”

Supply chain issues have left pharmacy shelves across Vancouver Island – and the country – depleted of children’s pain medications, but on Friday, Ottawa announced relief is on the way.

Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical advisor announced that the federal government had secured more than one million bottles of foreign-made children’s medicine, which will start hitting the shelves next week.

“After next week, more than one million bottles will have entered Canada to supply hospitals, community pharmacies and retailers,” said Sharma.

Watson was happy to hear that news Friday.

“That’s amazing, because we all need it on our community,” she said. “That’s really great to hear that were going to get some more Tylenol on the shelves.”

Andrea Silver, a pharmacist at Heart Pharmacy in Saanich, says it is good news, but only a start.

“A million doses in the province, that wold be awesome,” said Silver. “But a million doses across Canada is a drop in the bucket and will satisfy a portion of parents, but unfortunately a lot of parents will be in the same situation in a few weeks to months.”

And demand for the kids’ medicines is only expected to grow, as we hit the heart of cold, flu, and RSV season. Already in the past couple weeks, visits to Vancouver Island emergency departments for respiratory illnesses have increased, nearly doubling from a daily average 4.5 to eight in Nanaimo, and increasing from an average of 10 to nearly 16 a day at Victoria General Hospital.

“We need more doses. We know that. There aren’t a lot of solutions to the problem right now,” said Silver.

Pharmacists have recently been advising parents on how much adult medicine to give kids, and are also compounding medicines, but that’s a costly and inefficient solution.

“The used by date is actually quite short, so days to weeks,” said Silver.

So news of a million bottles of medicine expected to hit shelves starting next week is welcome, but families will need much more medicine in the months ahead.

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