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RSV and flu: Canada getting foreign supply of pain meds next week

More than one million bottles of children’s pain medication will hit shelves in Canada next week, federal health officials have announced.

The news will bring relief to Canadian parents who for months have grappled with a shortage of children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Advil and Tylenol).

The nationwide scarcity has collided with an unusual spike of viruses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The incoming supply will be given to hospitals, pharmacies and retailers.

Chief Medical Adviser Dr Supriya Sharma told reporters on Friday that Canada’s health agency was exploring “all levers” available to combat the shortfall.

“While drug shortages continue to make headlines, we are working tirelessly behind the scenes to end the shortages,” she said.

Officials had said previously they were working to secure a foreign supply of the drugs, but had not said how much would be ordered and when the shipments would reach Canadians.

Empty drug store shelves – barren of fever-fighting children’s medication – have spurred worry and frustration among some parents.

The concern has been worsened by a recent jump in viral infections among children, primarily influenza, RSV, and Covid, coming before the worst of flu season.

“Respiratory virus season is challenging anyway, and this year seems to be even worse than usual,” said Kelly Grindrod, a licenced pharmacist and professor at the University of Waterloo.

Some of the surge is an after-effect of Covid, Dr Grindrod said.

Covid restrictions helped to keep many viruses at bay. Now, a large number of children are having their first exposure to these respiratory viruses all at once.

The medication shortage has also put added stress on an already strained children’s health system, where emergency rooms and intensive care units have been running over capacity in recent weeks.

“The paediatric system is getting hit really hard,” Dr Grindrod said. “And we’re still just in November… we’ve got a long virus season left.”

Source: BBC