Cold and Flu Medication Shortages Are a Cause for Concern, Say Pharmacists

Cold and Flu Medication Shortages Are a Cause for Concern, Say Pharmacists

Due to two years of COVID-19 restrictions and the holiday season that just passed – time during which people mingle inside, promoting the spread of viruses – the common cold and the flu have spread significantly in the United Kingdom.

As a result, it makes sense that there’s been a high demand for over the counter medicine for these health issues and now, pharmacists are warning that there is a severe shortage of these drugs.

That’s right! It appears that Night Nurse, Lemsip and other popular medications meant to combat colds and the flu, are really low in stock, which is quite concerning.

And the high demand for these over the counter remedies is only making it worse while many people are still not able to see their doctors.

According to data made public not too long ago, the cases of cold and flu have been increasing during the past months, with serious cases of people needing hospitalization reaching a peak of 3,746 people per day during the holiday season.

At the same time, over the counter medication is also used by patients diagnosed with COVID-19, many taking matters into their own hands to get better, contributing even more to the shortages.

Dr. Leyla Hannbeck, head of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, shared via MailOnline that the situation is “widespread” and a “nightmare at the moment.”

She went on to explain that “Pharmacists cannot get a hold of some of the most common cold and flu medicine and they are sending me pictures of just how empty the shelves are. People can’t get GP appointments and are told to look after themselves as not to put pressure on the NHS. With cases of the cold and flu being higher this season, it has led to many people buying over the counter medicine and has led to higher demand.”

And sure enough, people have been noticing the lack of medication on the shelf.

One social media user took to their platform of choice to post their complaint and hopefully get a confirmation to their suspicion: “Genuine question. Is there a Lemsip shortage? Been to over eight different shops since before Christmas and the shelves are totally bare.”

Of course, if you thought this is solely a problem in the UK, that is not the case.

The United States struggled with cold and flu drug shortages for kids prior to Christmas as well, with Walgreens and CVS both having empty shelves.

Other counties that have also experienced the same situation are Germany, China, France and Canada.

The medication crisis has also been blamed on supply chain demands as well as a rise in at-home treatments resulting from a lack of GP appointments ever since the pandemic started.

Dr. Hannbeck mentioned that the shortages were caused by “problems and delays with manufacturers” as well as a lack of a working plan for quickly and efficiently tackling such an issue.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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