Cold & Flu Medicine Shortage

December 20, 2022
Person holding a thermometer

In the most recent 12 weeks, cough, cold, flu and sinus medication sales outpaced pre-pandemic levels by nearly $200 million.

President of client engagement at market research company IRI, Krishnakumar Davey. An early and fast start to the flu season, as well as a spike in RSV and COVID-19, has caused increased demand for fever reducers and non-prescription medication.

Why It Matters: Due to an increase of flu and respiratory cases, stores such as CVS and Walgreens are placing limits on children's over-the-counter fever reducing and pain relief products. The shortages are mostly on a store-to-store bases and not nationwide.

Flu activity remains high across the country: Flu season typically occurs in the fall and winter, but this year has seen a particularly early start. Over the past 40 years of flu seasons, cases peaked in February 17 times and in December seven times. But the CDC notes that since the pandemic began, "the timing and duration of flu activity has been less predictable."

Children’s medicine shortage hits as flu season starts fast (The Associated Press)

Flu, RSV and Covid Drive Demand for Children’s Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers (The Wall Street Journal)

by Jenna Lee,