Health Canada said on Friday that more than one million bottles of foreign-sourced children’s pain and fever medication will arrive in Canada, but did not say how much will be available to parents or how much more will be needed to mitigate. national shortage. .
Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, told a press conference that three proposals to import foreign products had been approved and the supply of ibuprofen and acetaminophen for children had started to come in. the country. The drugs will start appearing on store shelves early next week.
More than one million bottles will have entered Canada after next week, Sharma said. This number includes products for hospitals, some of which have already been distributed, as well as pharmacies and retailers, where parents and caregivers can access them. Shelves have been empty for weeks amid a surge of respiratory illnesses.
“We continue to identify additional sources of overseas supply of both acetaminophen and ibuprofen,” Sharma said.
Health Canada also did not provide a breakdown of how these products will be shared across the country, saying foreign supply would be “fairly distributed” based on where the need is greatest, including including in rural and northern areas where children may be much further away. of a hospital than in urban centres. Nearly two million children under the age of 12 live in Ontario, according to the latest census.
Sharma said it was difficult to determine how much additional product is needed to alleviate the shortage, because unlike drugs prescribed by a doctor for a fixed period, pain and fever medications are used to treat many different conditions. .
“We tracked it, but demand has been very atypical over the past few months,” Sharma said, adding the department was working closely with retailers. “We take comparisons with previous years as a guideline, but what we know now is that there has been a shortage, obviously it’s to the point where it’s critical.”
Part of the cause of the shortage was a large and early spike in respiratory illnesses affecting children, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam has urged families to get children vaccinated, citing the growing number of flu cases, an unusual proportion of which have affected children under the age of 19. She added that masks and hand washing provide additional layers of protection.
In a virtual press conference, federal health officials provide an update on the shortage of acetaminophen and ibuprofen for infants and children. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Chief Medical Advisor at Health Canada, and Dr. Marc Berthiaume, Director of the Office of Medical Sciences at Health Canada, will participate in the briefing.
Lab test positivity is 16% for the flu, Tam said. In the first week of November, 64% of reported flu cases were in teenagers and children under 19, according to federal figures.
In a newsletter distributed Friday, the Canadian Pediatric Society offered a candid assessment to families: “Get your flu shot now.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION