Pharmacies limit child medicine purchases; parents concerned for months ahead

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE) — As illnesses like the flu, COVID-19, and RSV continue to spike before the winter months, pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens have limited the amount of children’s pain-relief products that can purchase in their stores.

This comes as they deal with empty shelves in many of those stores, because of high demand for medicine, and continued supply chain issues.

Walgreens has limited the number of products customers can buy to six over-the-counter products from its online store. Meanwhile, at CVS, you will now only be able to buy just two products at a time both in-store and online.

“No doubt it will be more difficult,” Mohammad Osama Syed said, a concerned parent shopping at the Woonsocket CVS location Tuesday. “And I hope some kind of solution can come to this.”

A spokesperson for the Woonsocket-based pharmacy CVS confirmed the restraints in a statement to ABC 6 News Tuesday.

“We can confirm that to ensure equitable access for all our customers, there is currently a two product limit on all children’s pain relief products at all CVS Pharmacy locations and cvs.com. We’re committed to meeting our customer’s needs and are working with our suppliers to ensure continued access to these items,” said the spokesperson.

Parents like Mohammed Osama Syed and Edna Rodriguez, who was shopping along with her 1-year-old daughter, both said they’re feeling the pressure heading into the winter.

“There’s really already [not a lot of] medicine that you can give them, so whenever they get a fever the only relief you can offer is already being limited,” Rodriguez said. “They don’t come in large quantities, so if you have a kid that’s sick for more than just two days it’s hard to find medicine already.”

As many parents now search for alternatives for their children, some experts have recommended using generic brand products and visiting compound pharmacies.

In Warwick, JB Pharmacy and Compounding confirmed to ABC 6 it will offer parents child pain-relief medicine, but you must bring a doctor’s prescription in order to have them compound the medicine.

And as for how long these product limits might last, some experts predict shortages could last in some communities until early next year, as these issues are not expected to improve until there is enough staff to deliver the medicine from pharmacies and stock the shelves in pharmacies.

“Already in the past month or two [my daughter has] gotten sick, and it’s hard to find medicine for her. Now that they’re limiting products it’s going to be tougher than it already [has been],” Rodriguez said.

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