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PAGB companies have not reported cough and cold medicines shortages


PAGB companies have not reported cough and cold medicines shortages

By Neil Trainis

The head of the body that represents the manufacturers of over-the counter-medicines has hit back at what she described as “partial and incomplete reporting” of shortages of cough and cold products by insisting its members are meeting patient demand.

In a statement released today, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain chief executive Michelle Riddalls said her member companies have not reported shortages “in product availability” or “issues supplying these medicines” and was adamant large numbers of medicines are available as GSL products in supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores as well as in pharmacies.

She also said there may be “some additional products which require oversight of the pharmacist for the sale to take place.”

Appearing to criticise reports of shortages in the press in the last few weeks and insisting cough and cold products for children and adults are “available to buy in a number of different settings,” Ms Riddalls said: “There has been a significant increase in respiratory infections including cough, cold and flu this winter and therefore a resulting increase in demand for over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Manufacturers of these medicines are currently meeting this demand and are not reporting any issues supplying these medicines.

“Despite suggestions to the contrary based on partial and incomplete reporting, consumers continue to be able to access a variety of treatments for winter illnesses in a variety of different settings, as they are not solely reliant on obtaining products via a pharmacy where limited incidences of shortages are being reported.”

Ms Riddalls said that although individual pharmacists have had “sporadic issues” getting hold of stock, those problems are not widespread. She insisted retailers and large pharmacy chains who sell “the vast majority” of OTC medicines “have an adequate selection of stock.”

She also claimed independent pharmacies can get hold of stock from wholesalers and any “local and limited challenges reported in acquiring medicines through this route” was not “an accurate reflection of how the majority of the over-the-counter medicines are supplied to customers.”

“Any consumers experiencing temporary difficulties in purchasing their preferred brand at their local pharmacy, can speak to their pharmacists for advice about alternative products to manage their symptoms,” Ms Riddalls said.

“Cough and cold medicines remain available at supermarkets and other retailers where people can also buy a wide range of over-the-counter medicines to treat coughs and colds.”

In the last few weeks, pharmacy bodies have reported that pharmacies across the country have had problems getting hold of cough and cold products. The UK Health Security Agency last month warned winter illnesses including flu and Covid continue to circulate in “high levels.”

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