Increased demand has led CVS and Walgreens to limit purchases of children’s pain-relief medicine, the companies confirmed to CNN on Monday.
CVS is restricting both in-person and online purchases to two children’s pain relief products. Walgreens has limited online purchases to six over-the-counter fever reducers per transaction, but it does not have an in-store purchase limit.
“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, over-the-counter pediatric fever reducing products are seeing constraint across the country,” Walgreens said in a statement. The limits were put into place “in an effort to help support availability and avoid excess purchases.”
CVS also cited increased demand for these items and collaboration with suppliers to ensure continued access.
The limits were placed to “ensure equitable access” for all customers, according to a statement from CVS.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association said sales of pediatric pain relievers are up 65% from this time last year.
“Supplies of these products are being replenished as quickly as possible, and there is not a widespread shortage in the US. However, with demand for children’s pain and fever medicines reaching unprecedented levels following this early and severe flu season (along with cases of RSV and COVID), we understand why some retailers have adjusted to impose limits on purchases,” the group said in a statement.
“While CHPA member companies are running manufacturing facilities 24-7 to meet demand, we will continue to encourage consumers to buy only what they need, so other families can find and purchase the medicines they are seeking.”
The moves by CVS and Walgreens come amid a brutal respiratory virus season that continues to strain pediatric hospitals. Young children are particularly vulnerable to RSV, which has hospitalized more than 4 out of every 1,000 children younger than 5 this season, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Weekly RSV hospitalizations have dropped dramatically over the past month – but even with the improvements, hospitalizations are still higher than normal. Flu activity remains high, and Covid-19 is trending up across the country.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association said that during this period of high demand, parents concerned about a child’s illness should “contact their pediatrician or other healthcare provider for additional guidance, especially when it comes to an appropriate amount of medicine needed to get them through this flu season.”