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Walgreens Ends Limit on Fever Products

Health

A sign is placed near the section for children's medicine, Monday, Dec.19, 2022 at a Walgreens, in New York, United States. | Image by Fatih Aktas, Anadolu Agency, Getty Images

Walgreens has announced it is ending limits it recently enacted for online purchases of children’s over-the-counter (OTC) fever-reducing products.

The company said improved supplies allowed it to lift its restrictions on six products, according to Fox 4. The drugstore chain had no limit on in-store purchases of the medicine. 

Walgreens and CVS Health put a restriction on purchases of some of their OTC products due to supply issues. CVS had a two-product limit on all children’s pain relief products bought through its pharmacies or online, Fox 4 said. 

A CVS spokesperson said that limits on some children’s medicines are still in place. 

Walgreens said in a press release that the limit was put in place to “prevent excess purchasing behavior.”

The supply crunch started due to an unusually fast start to the U.S. flu season and an increase in other respiratory illnesses, creating a spike in demand for OTC fever relievers, according to Fox 4. Several media outlets referred to it as a tridemic, referring to the simultaneous increase in cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, several hospitals saw an influx of RSV cases in November that inundated hospitals with patients. Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth enacted its ‘disaster code’ following the spike.  

Children’s Tylenol was one of the products that experienced shortages. Analysts that track medicine shortages said last month that the problem could continue throughout winter’s cold-and-flu season but that it would not last as long as other shortages of baby formula and prescription drugs, according to Fox 4. 

“What is happening is the earliest and most severe flu season in a decade. Then you add in RSV on top of that, and COVID,” Anita Brikman, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, told Axios. The organization represents major manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, the makers of children’s Tylenol and Motrin.

Brikman said sales of Children’s Tylenol were up 65% year-over-year in November, the latest numbers available.

“The demand is just unprecedented for this time of year,” she said. 

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