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Walgreens, CVS limit purchases of children's pain relief medication

Posted at 8:40 AM, Dec 20, 2022

Amid the nationwide outbreak of respiratory illnesses affecting young patients, two have the country's largest pharmacy chains are limiting purchases of children's pain-relief medicines.

On Tuesday, a CVS spokesperson said that the company is implementing a two-product limit on all children's pain relief products online and in the store.

"We’re committed to meeting our customers’ needs and are working with our suppliers to ensure continued access to these items," the CVS spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the company placed the limits to “ensure equitable access” for all customers.

Walgreens said in a statement Tuesday that because "retailers nationwide are experiencing supplier fulfillment challenges due to increased demand of over-the-counter pediatric fever-reducing products," they are limiting online customers to six purchases.

The spokesperson added that the new limit was implemented "to prevent excess purchasing behavior."

Walgreens said the limit doesn’t apply to in-store purchases.

Doctors told The Associated Press that the spike in demand for the products was due to a fast start to the yearly flu season, plus a surge in other respiratory illnesses.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the rise in hospitalizations in the U.S. for the flu was the most they'd seen in the last decade.

The influenza outbreak comes as the CDC also sees a spike in other respiratory diseases, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

According to CDC data, as of Dec. 16, 23,503 patients were admitted to hospitals with influenza.

The CDC estimates that there have been at least 15 million illnesses, 150,000 hospitalizations, and 9,300 deaths so far this flu season.

According to the CDC, flu deaths of nine children were reported last week, bringing the total to 30 children to die this flu season.