Shoppers across the country are being warned that supplies of some medicines are running low in British pharmacies. These medicines include liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen, usually given to children.
High street pharmacies and chemists have been affected by shortages of some medicines, according to reports.
There are low stocks of Calpol, Lemsip, and Gaviscon on high street shelves across the country.
Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association for Independent Multiple Pharmacies, told the Daily Mail: “Supplies of liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen, which are given to children to ease pain, are very low indeed.
“Pharmacists are spending a lot of time trying to ensure we get drips of medicines coming through – at least one variant of each – so patients are not left completely high and dry.”
But children’s painkillers are not the only medicines affected.
Dr Hannbeck said “a range of other very common medicines” are impacted by the shortages.
She continued: “These include Sterimar congestion relief nasal spray for babies, Lemsip, Gaviscon, Optrex and [constipation treatment] Senokot.”
Shortages are due to factory constraints and issues with the production of the raw ingredients used to make common drugs in China and India.
Dr Hannbeck advised consumers: “Please don’t hoard these medicines – there’s no need to be concerned and pharmacists are doing everything they can to ease the situation.”
The Government’s Department of Health and Social Care issued a statement on the shortages on Sunday, March 26.
A spokesperson said: “We know how distressing and frustrating medicine supply issues can be, but we want to assure people that we have well-established processes with an aim to prevent supply issues occurring in the first instance, and to manage or mitigate them when they occur.
“We work with a wide range of organisations operating in the UK medicine supply chain to provide advice and help ensure that patients continue to have access to safe and effective treatments.”
But this is not the first time Britons have been warned of limited supplies of medication.
Earlier this year, in January, pharmacists said they were running out of basic cold and flu medication, as well as antibiotics, at a time when children were returning to school and more likely to be spreading common winter illnesses.
Speaking to the Sun, Dr Hannbeck said at the time: “As a pharmacist and as a mum, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the situation will improve.
“Pharmacies all over the country are struggling to get these medicines, it’s a national issue.”
The expert explained to PA News agency why pharmacies were faced with short supplies in January, as well as in the months preceding. She said: “The demand has been high because this season we’ve seen higher cases of colds and flu and people are obviously trying very hard to look after themselves and making sure that they use the relevant products to manage the symptoms.
“And that has led to a shortage of these products in terms of us not being able to obtain them.”
Dr Hannbeck added: “Unfortunately part of that is a lack of planning by officials in terms of foreseeing the problems and trying to plan in advance to sort it.
“With cold and flu, we knew some months ago cases were going up and it was anticipated that there would be higher demand for these products. So you would have thought that plans would have been in place in terms of managing this with regards to liaising with manufacturers and getting the products in.”