Walgreens, CVS and others limiting purchases of children’s pain relief medicine as respiratory illnesses rise

Pharmacies are limiting purchases of children’s pain relief medication as respiratory illnesses continue spreading throughout the United States, including the flu, RSV, and COVID-19.

CVS Pharmacy put a two-product limit on purchases of all children’s pain relief products in stores and online.

“We’re committed to meeting our customers’ needs and are working with our suppliers to ensure continued access to these items,” a CVS spokesperson told Fox Business.

A surge in flu and respiratory illnesses are creating medication shortages, including this South Florida pharmacy with no children’s Tylenol in stock on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (Cindy Krischer Goodman/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Walgreens, meanwhile, is limiting customers to six purchases of pain medication for kids online, but there’s no limit at retail stores. A Walgreens spokesperson told Fox Business that the new limit is due to both increased consumer demand and supply challenges.

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Health officials around the country have been warning about an unusually early and severe flu season. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a telebriefing earlier this month that levels of medical visits with respiratory symptoms were high or very high in 47 jurisdictions in late November.

“Respiratory viruses continue to spread at high levels nationwide, and even in areas where RSV may be decreasing, our hospital systems continue to be stretched with high numbers of patients with other respiratory illnesses,” Walensky said.

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Walgreens pharmacy, over-the-counter medicine, cough, cold and flu relief. (Jeff Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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The FDA warned last month that there is also an “acute shortage” of amoxicillin, an oral antibiotic that is often prescribed to children to treat bacterial respiratory infections.

Fox Business’ Julia Musto contributed to this report.

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