IG news Update,
Pharmacies in the province are still dealing with high demand for many over-the-counter medicines for pain, cold and flu symptoms for children and adults.
According to Jake Reid, executive director of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association, the ultimate culprit is a “perfect cocktail” of several viruses, including COVID, RSV and the seasonal flu.
He said that in any other year there would be enough drugs to go around without a problem, but this flu season has seen a surge in demand that has put “strain” on supply.
“I’ve heard from some pharmacies that when some of these drugs hit store shelves on a Wednesday, they go out on Thursday morning or faster,” Reed said.
worldwide increased demand
Reed said Canada is part of a global market that is experiencing increased demand, so there is little pharmacies can do to increase their stocks.
But he cautions against panic-buying, which will only exacerbate the problem, and said patients should speak with medical professionals to determine if they need the drug they want to buy.
Reed said, “If you don’t need it and you already have something, it’s better not to buy it. Leave it for someone else.”
“Talk to your pharmacist, talk to your doctor, talk to your nurse practitioner. Find out what you need.”
Reed said pharmacies may start limiting the amount of some drugs people can buy, or start keeping it behind the counter, to maintain supplies.
He said there were rumors that pharmacists were asking for prescriptions for some over-the-counter drugs, which is not the case.
“They want to make sure people are buying it purposefully,” Reed said.
“They want to discuss it with the patient as they come in before purchasing it, which is always good advice.”
The Pharmacists Association could not supply the names of specific brands that are in short supply, but said in an email, “Availability of particular brands at any given time may vary across the province.”
Reid said one way to deal with the shortage may be to turn to traditional methods of relief, such as honey and warm water for mild coughs and sore throats.
But the best advice is to take precautions to reduce your chances of getting sick in the first place.
“Make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines,” Reed said.
“Follow the public health advice that not all of us are following right now, to make sure you wear your mask for social distancing when you are in close proximity to others.”