Shortage of over-the-counter meds: Here’s where to buy


(NewsNation) — Amid the tripledemic, parents looking for medicine to alleviate their kids’ symptoms are being confronted by empty pharmacy shelves.

Tylenol in particular is getting harder to find as the nation wrestles with a spike in winter illnesses.

Health experts don’t expect the shortage to end soon, as RSV, the flu and COVID-19 cases continue to surge ahead of holiday gatherings.

Anita Brikman, with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, said the demand is “unprecedented.”

“When we look at sales figures from Information Resources, Inc. of last year compared to this year, because of this onslaught of flu COVID and RSV, sales are up 65%,” Brikman said. “We’ve also seen data on this flu season. This is the earliest and most severe it has hit in a decade.

Industry experts say there’s not much of a logjam in production, and they blame skyrocketing demand for the shortages in supply.

“Companies are doing everything they can to produce 24/7 and get those store shelves restocked,” Brikman said.

Brikman said there isn’t a nationwide shortage, but rather, stores are experiencing what she called “temporary out-of-stocks.”

While it is frustrating, she said, you may need to travel to more than one store or pharmacy to find medicine in stock. She also recommends:

  • Using a different brand of medication, such as a generic brand, if brand names are sold out. Brikman said these products have the same active ingredient to reduce fever and pain as the brand names.
  • Try a different formulation. For example, switching from a pill to a liquid form of medication. If your child is over 2 years old, you may need to use a chewable tablet for the time being.
  • Visit stores outside of the traditional supermarket or pharmacy. Stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar also sell pain-relief and fever-relief medicines

Brikman also encourages consumer to buy only the amount of medication they need.

“If parents start stocking up when they find it, then there are going to be other families who are scrambling to find what they need for their sick child,” she said.

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