The high demand for children´s medicines is due to present flu season, which is usually between October and May, but this year came at least six weeks earlier as a more severe illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a confluence of viruses along with influenza such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Covid-19, mostly affecting children.
Hospitalization rates are high in all age groups, especially among adults aged 65 and older, as well as children under four, said Dr. Ilan Shapiro, a pediatrician at AltaMed Health Services.
This “tripledemic” is presently causing another issue at pharmacies: a run-on children´s pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
To combat part of the problem, the U.S. government released reserves of Tamiflu. CVS, Target and Walgreens are limiting purchases of over-the-counter children’s medication to prevent stockpiling.
CVS has a two-product limit in-store and online. Target placed a two-product limit for online purchases. Walgreens is allowing customers to purchase six products per online transaction.
“We are taking steps to guarantee all jurisdictions may meet the increased demand for Tamiflu in the current seasonal flu outbreak,” Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
The HHS Strategic Preparedness and Response Administration will work together with states to assess any claim for Tamiflu, Becerra said.
Influenza was not a major issue in the past two years because of precautions people took against Covid-19, but a large majority of the country moved away from those protections, and as more people enter in the colder months, the virus is taking its toll, the health agency notes. pll/mem/adr