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Local pharmacies struggle to keep up with demand for cold medication

Local pharmacies struggle to keep up with demand for cold medication

Sunday 07 May 2023

Local pharmacies struggle to keep up with demand for cold medication

Sunday 07 May 2023

Lemsip and Day Nurse are some of the medicines out of stock across the island, as local pharmacies struggle to keep up with demand for basic cough and cold medicines.

This has even led some adults to take children’s cough syrup when they cannot find their medication of choice, according to one pharmacist.

Products like Lemsip, Day Nurse, Night Nurse and Calpol have all been affected by shortages.

Simon Wall – an ambassador for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in Jersey and a pharmacist at Boots – said that the shortages are due to problems with manufacturers, as well as delayed ferries and UK supply chain issues.

He explained that other factors such as the Suez Canal blockage, the war in Ukraine, the scarlet fever outbreak during the winter, and the recall of pholcodine-based medicines all impact the supply chain.

However, Mr Wall said that these issues should ease up as the weather gets warmer and manufacturers have time to catch up on demand.

Medicines containing pholcodine were also withdrawn in March because of allergy risks. These include a number of cough syrups as well as Day Nurse, and combined Day and Night Nurse capsules.

Shortages have lasted for at least three months, with supplies of common over-the-counter medicines varying. Prescription medication has also been affected.

Reid's Pharmacy in Five Oaks explained they had not been able to source any Lemsip for three months, until they finally received some from their suppliers a week ago. However, they are often able to call other branches of Reid's Pharmacy across the island to find one that has whatever medicine people are looking for.

Claire Reid, of Reid's Pharmacy, said that some adults has resorted to buying children’s cough medicines for themselves. This is not unsafe, she said, but they would need to change the dosage for the medication to be effective.


Pictured: Pharmacists remain best-placed to advise on which medication to take.

It is still recommended that people ask the healthcare team at a pharmacy for appropriate medication.

Though they did face shortages of cold medicines, St Martin Pharmacy said that if someone could not find the specific product they were looking for, they would have a conversation with the person and identify potential alternative treatments.

Some pharmacies were still able to use their regular stock, with Roseville Pharmacy saying that they have not had any issues with shortages since the winter, but that demand remained high.

If people cannot find the medicine they were hoping for, Mr Wall recommended that they should ask a pharmacist or a pharmaceutical advisor, who he said would be able to recommend the best product for them.

These difficulties obtaining medicines mirror shortages in the UK, which have been reported since October. These were blamed initially on delivery drivers, but in January the UK-based Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies related the issue to supply chains and to a lack of planning from the UK government.

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