Calpol is ‘virtually non existent’ is some areas, pharmacists warn

Various pharmacies are seeing ‘temporary shortages’ of cold and flu remedies (Picture: Getty)

Calpol is reportedly ‘virtually non existent’ in some regions of England.

Pharmacists have spoken of a widespread lack of common medicines for colds and flu including throat lozenges, cough mixtures and some pain killers.

Customers even queried if a ‘Lemsip shortage’ was underway amid empty shelves.

Demand at pharmacies continues to skyrocket, with Calpol the latest to be affected.

Mike Hewitson, a Somerset pharmacist who is struggling to rebuild stocks, told the Sun he had ‘never seen the situation this bad’.

Others told the paper that supplies of medication were ‘virtually non existent’ in some areas which had caused a ‘dilemma’ for parents with ill children.

Pharmacist Sri Kanaparthy, based in Durham, told the Sun: ‘We always try and short out an alternative for the patient, but in some cases it’s not possible and we have to refer the patient back to the GP.

‘This is a dilemma for those patients who cannot get a timely GP appointment.’

People shop at Tesco Superstore, Eastville, Bristol, January 4 2023

Demand for cold remedies has skyrocketed this winter (Picture: SWNS)

A ‘lack of planning’ from Government officials is to blame for the shortage of cough and cold medicines, pharmacy leaders have claimed.

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies accused the Government of ‘being in denial’ over problems with the supply chain.

The UK Health Security Agency has warned that winter illnesses including flu and Covid-19 continue to circulate at ‘high levels’.

As a result, officials urged people to keep children with a fever off school and urged unwell adults to wear face masks to stem the spread of infections.

Chief executive of the Association, Leyla Hannbeck, said: ‘Pharmacists are struggling to obtain the very basic, most common cold and flu medicine.

‘This isn’t just the branded medicines, it is also simple things like throat lozenges, cough mixtures or pain killers – particularly the ones that are soluble.

‘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.’

People shop at Tesco Superstore, Eastville, Bristol, January 4 2023

Empty shelves at a Tesco Superstore in Eastville, Bristol (Picture: SWNS)

Ms Hannbeck added: ‘But this is part of a bigger issue – from HRT to antibiotics to this, we are constantly finding ourselves in a situation when as soon as the demand for something goes up we are struggling with the supply.

‘Unfortunately part of that is a lack of planning by officials (at the Department of Health and Social Care) in terms of foreseeing the problems and trying to plan in advance to sort it.

‘For example, 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.’

Not being able to access self-care products in pharmacies is leading to more pressure for the NHS, she added.

High street chain Superdrug said that it had seen a huge demand for cough and cold medicines.

Boots added that their general availability was currently good but that there may be ‘temporary shortages’ of certain brands.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

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