Increased demand for over-the-counter medications are causing shortages

‘There are regional more shortages impacting certain areas for certain products than others’

It’s not uncommon for rare medications to have supply chain hiccups leading to a shortage, but we aren’t talking about anything fancy. Some very common over-the-counter medicines are also becoming hard to find.

“Right now, we are experiencing a collision of three different viral respiratory illnesses, so RSV influenza and COVID, which is causing an increased demand in some of the antibiotics used to treat secondary infections as well as some over-the-counter products to treat fever or pain in our kids,” said Brigid Groves, the Senior Director of Practice, American Pharmacists Association.

The problem is not on the supply side. It’s from the unexpectedly high demand that our early infection season created. Groves says it means that the shortages aren’t being felt the same across the United States.

“There are regional shortages more impacting certain areas for certain products than others,” Groves said.

Some of the more common regional shortages involve the influenza medication Tamiflu and the asthma treatment Albuterol. Groves notes some of the more nationwide shortages involve liquid antibiotics for children, specifically Amoxicillin and Augmentin, as well as liquid over-the-counter acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

“Parents and caregivers that might need to get medications like an antibiotic or the over-the-counter products for their loved ones or their children should expect that they might need to go to a different location, have to drive somewhere or go to a different type of pharmacy or a different retailer altogether,” Groves said.

Before driving all over the city, you should call the pharmacies and ask about their supplies. Also, as far as over-the-counter medications, there should be a reasonable supply, and everyone is really being asked to buy only what they need, so there’s plenty to go around.


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.