Pharmacists are running out of stocks of cold and flu medicines in the face of the enormous demand
With demand for over-the-counter medicines soaring, pharmacists are running out of stocks of the most common cold and flu medicines.
As cases of cold and flu continue to rise, those unable to see their GP are turning to store-bought treatments, for which demand has risen sharply, one expert says.
“Increased demand” has led to medicines like Lemsip and Day and Night Nurse and other own-brand cold and flu medicines selling out and pharmacists photographing empty shelves.
The chairwoman of the association of independent multiple pharmacies, Dr. Leyla Hannbeck told MailOnline the problem was “widespread” and not limited to just one product.
People have taken pictures of empty shelves as stocks of cold and flu medicines are running low
Pharmacists have reported low stocks of some over-the-counter cold and flu medicines
Describing the situation as a “current nightmare”, she said: “Pharmacists are unable to source some of the most common cold and flu medicines and are sending me pictures showing how empty the shelves are.
“People are unable to get doctor’s appointments and are being told to take care of themselves so as not to put pressure on the NHS.
“As cases of cold and flu have increased this season, this has resulted in many people buying over-the-counter medicines, leading to greater demand.”
dr Hannbeck said a number of products, including Lemsip, Day and Night Nurse and own-brand cold and flu treatments, are “hard to come by”.
Cold and flu medicine was in short supply at a Morrisons in the market town of St Ives, Cambridgeshire
Tesco in Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire, also had few cold and flu medicines in stock
“They run out very quickly and it’s very patchy, which means we have to tell patients we can’t take care of them.
“The Department of Health (DHSC) and the Government deny there are shortages. As long as this is the case, we will see this in the future.
“During the winter time when so many people are suffering from cold and flu symptoms, we get stuck as soon as demand picks up a little bit.”
She continued: “It’s not just a brand, it’s a range of products that are unavailable.
“But we don’t want to cause panic. What we’re saying is that some of these basic medicines that we should have at this point aren’t available.’
dr Hannbeck said the problems were being caused by “issues and delays at manufacturers” but were further aggravated by the lack of appropriate robust plans to address supply chain concerns.
Meanwhile, MailOnline visited some Boots stores in London yesterday and found that Lemsip Max sachets are completely sold out and only boxes of ‘Day and Night’ pills remain.
A Boots store employee said: “We don’t have any of our own brand Lemsip powder or cold and flu sachets. Beechams only.
“We haven’t had any for two to three weeks. I think there are supply problems.”
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Lemsip maker Reckitt said it was doing “whatever we can to minimize the disruption” as demand for the product has been high during cold and flu season.
A Boots spokesman said: “We have seen an above-average demand for Lemsip.
“Merchandise is still available in many of our stores and while some may experience temporary shortages, suitable alternatives are usually available.
“When in doubt, customers should speak to their pharmacist for advice on alternatives.”
Meanwhile, Superdrug said it’s currently experiencing “exceptionally high demand” for both its branded and proprietary cold and flu products.
Superdrug Pharmacy Superintendent Niamh McMillan added that demand for her own-brand medicines had exceeded demand in “his biggest week of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Meanwhile, numerous social media users have reportedly had trouble finding remedies for cold and flu this winter.
One woman said: “Real question. Is there a Lemsip deficiency? I’ve been to over 8 different stores since before Christmas and the shelves are completely empty.’
Retailers see empty shelves as cold and flu supplies run low during the winter season
Packets of painkillers and cough medicine were out of stock at Morrisons in Cambridgeshire this morning
Another reported a shortage at the Waitrose store in Worthing, West Sussex, while a third – who spent the Christmas break battling a virus – added: “I’ve been down with a nasty bug since Christmas day.
“Yesterday I started to feel better and now only cold symptoms thankfully. There’s so much of it. Apparently that’s why there was a shortage of Lemsip and Paracetamol!’
While one man took the shortage lightly, tweeting: “Why is no one discussing the shortage of lemsip! How am I supposed to deal with this man flu!?’
DHSC and Haleon have been contacted for comment.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11594553/Pharmacists-running-low-supplies-cold-flu-medicines-amid-huge-demand.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Pharmacists are running out of stocks of cold and flu medicines in the face of the enormous demand