Pharmacy bosses warn of Calpol shortage amid winter illness surge

4 January 2023, 15:31 | Updated: 4 January 2023, 15:59

Pharmacies are struggling to keep up with demand
Pharmacies are struggling to keep up with demand. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Pharmacies across the country face a shortage of basic supplies, including Calpol, industry bosses have warned.

Some painkillers and throat lozenges are also in short supply, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM) has said.

It comes after health chiefs urged the public to 'avoid unnecessary illness' as the NHS is in the midst of a major crisis.

The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) has also asked the public to wear masks outside to stop the spread of viruses this winter, including Covid, flu and scarlet fever.

AIM's chief executive Leyla Hannbeck said: "This isn't just the branded medicines, it is also simple things like throat lozenges, cough mixtures or painkillers - 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.

"On the front line it is very difficult because we're seeing these shortages but those people who are in charge of supporting us with it are denying it."

Nick Ferrari says the NHS 'doesn't work' and is 'fundamentally flawed'

Professor Susan Hopkins, chief medical advisor at the UKHSA, has said adults should try not to go out when they are unwell where possible, and avoid visiting vulnerable people unless it is urgent.

She said: "Adults should...try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wear a face covering. When unwell don’t visit healthcare settings or visit vulnerable people unless urgent.

"Remember that flu vaccination is still available for all eligible groups and is the best protection against the virus. We have seen good uptake in older age groups but vaccination among young children remains low.

"Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases can lead to more serious illness. Getting your child vaccinated protects them and others they come into contact with, and it’s still not too late."

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