‘Very scary’: Okanagan parent slams child’s painkiller shortage

Shortages of painkillers for children have made headlines across Canada.

Now an Okanagan mother is talking about the impact on her family and urging others not to buy more than they need.

Coldstream, B.C. mom Stacie Grahn said when her 3-year-old son fell ill this week, her husband went to several local pharmacies and couldn’t find Advil or Liquid Children’s Tylenol.

So he ended up buying adult drugs.

“We were trying to crush that on him, but…it’s not easy giving that to a kid,” Grahn said.

“It was actually very scary, especially in the middle of the night at four in the morning, with his fever not going down. I was lying there thinking how many other parents are in this situation right now?”

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‘Bare shelves:’ 1 month later, shortages of children’s painkillers persist in parts of British Columbia

At Nolan’s Parmasave in Vernon, a shelf that usually holds children’s painkillers is empty and notes on when items are available show dates next month through next year.

A few blocks from the SterlingRX pharmacy, supplies of children’s painkillers were limited on Thursday.

“Most of the time we’ve just been able to get rid of supply shortages that come up in the warehouse we’re ordering from, but restocking is quite difficult at this point,” said pharmacy manager Graeme Nevins.

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British Columbia continues to experience a shortage of painkillers for children

British Columbia continues to experience a shortage of painkillers for children

Health Canada said in a statement to Global News that companies report the problem is higher than normal demand, coupled with supply chain issues.

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Earlier this month, the province blamed panic buying on false reports that a prescription is needed for Tylenol.

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Parents in BC urged not to stockpile or panic buy amid shortage of children’s painkillers

However, more recently, the provincial Ministry of Health also mentioned supply issues as an issue. In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said BC Children’s Hospital is “facing supply chain disruptions” but “has sufficient inventory for” its patients.

Whatever the cause of the shortage, parents and pharmacists must find workarounds.

“Fortunately for us, we are a compounding pharmacy. We specialize in the manufacture of improvised drugs, so we are able to compose liquid acetaminophen or Tylenol. It’s a bit more expensive, but if there’s nothing else available, that might be the best option,” Nevins.

However, Nevins notes that making meds at the pharmacy can also take 24-48 hours, and it’s unclear if they’ll be able to restock raw ingredients for liquid Tylenol if they run out.

Grahn ended up taking her son to the emergency room when his fever wouldn’t go down and then found children’s painkillers in Kelowna.

“Don’t buy too much. Leave some for the parents who don’t have one,” Grahn said.

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“I think we’re all a little tired over the last two years of panic buying and hoarding. I know for me it brought back a lot of feelings of unease thinking back to 2020.”

The provincial and federal governments discourage hoarding and say they are working on mitigation strategies.

— with files from Kylie Stanton

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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