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Manitobans urged not to panic buy children’s cold medication amid shortage

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Don Denton

A Canada-wide shortage of children’s cold medication is affecting pharmacies in Manitoba but pharmacists are urging parents not to panic buy.

“If you walk into any store, most of the stores, have mostly empty shelves,” says Amarjeet Makkar, a pharmacist at Keewatin Pharmacy.

“Earlier people used to ask for different brands but now they say, oh can I get anything for cough and cold.”

Read more: Children’s Tylenol, Advil shortage in Alberta attributed to summer COVID infections

According to Health Canada, the shortage affecting pharmacies in several provinces is due to supply chain issues and “significantly higher than normal” demand.

“Pharmacies all across the country use the same handful of small wholesalers so shortages that affect one area of the country typically affect pharmacies across the country,” says Tim Smith, a pharmacy practice advisor with Pharmacists Manitoba.

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“Please only buy what you need, when you need it so that those who need it have it available to them,” he says.  “We don’t want to see a repeat of the 2020 toilet paper fiasco.”

Makkar believes back to school is contributing to the surge in demand.

“Very soon kids will be going back to school and they will be getting sick,” Makkar says.

Stockpiling the medication for the back-to-school season is putting stress on parents who are in need right now.

“We are getting supplies, it’s not like we’re not getting supplies at all. But when it comes, it just vanishes right away.”

Makkar says parents have other options. He suggests cutting adult pills in half or using chewable tablets instead of syrups.

Read more: London, Ont. pharmacies grappling with cold and cough medication shortage

His biggest piece of advice though is to consult your pharmacist or doctor.

“Don’t go for something blindly, go and talk to your pharmacist or talk to your doctor to get proper advice.”

Health Minister Audrey Gordon told Global News she is aware of the issue and measures to ensure supply is available for those that require the medication such as pharmacies having it behind the counter.

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For specific details on the amount of supply, the department through the newsroom should be able to provide that information;  however, that may not be until tomorrow.

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