Canadians everywhere, including in Kingston, Ont., have been clamouring for months to get their hands on cold and flu medicine this winter.
It’s been in very short supply in pharmacies at a time of year when people need it most and, according to a pharmacist in Kingston, the situation isn’t showing any signs of improving.
The shortage, during a particularly tough winter season has seen many people left to battle it out or clog up emergency rooms and walk-in clinics because they can’t get relief.
Rebecca Hall has two kids under six, and she says it’s been frustrating trying to find meds.
“It’s been very scary not to be able to access flu medication and fever medication,” said Hall, who called it “nerve-wracking.”
The same goes for Dave Gouger, who has a toddler at home.
“My wife says that she’s been to a couple of stores looking and can’t find the Children’s Tylenol anywhere.”
On Queen’s University campus, the pharmacist at Drug Smart says the problem hasn’t slowed.
“We have to check every day from our suppliers to see what’s available and what’s not,” said Andrew Ting-a-kee.
The cold and flu display at Drug Smart, front and centre in the store, is reasonably stocked, but Ting-a-kee says that the flow of people coming in for the drugs has been consistently high.
“They sell, basically like candy, especially on campus where people associate in close proximity. The rate of people getting cough, cold, flu symptoms is very high.”
He said this has put a strain on the health-care system overall as people are pushed to walk-in clinics and hospitals to deal with symptoms that they don’t have the over-the-counter drugs to treat with.
“We try our best to keep our shelves stocked but the options are always limited,” he added.
This means that parents like Rebecca Hall are left in the lurch, trying to find somewhere to get what they need.
“We had a friend coming down from Toronto who said that they found a pharmacy and so they brought us some Tylenol and it just feels wild that you have to ask your friends coming from elsewhere to bring you Tylenol.”