ontario advil tylenol

Pharmacy shelves are empty as Ontario hit hard by nationwide medication shortage

If you've noticed a complete lack of over-the-counter medications like children's acetaminophen and ibuprofen available on pharmacy shelves, you're not alone, as a nationwide shortage has Ontario residents jumping from store to store and even crossing the U.S. border for health care basics.

Ottawa has also noticed, and like Canadians who have road-tripped south of the border for relief, the federal government is also turning to foreign supply to help address the shortage.

Health Canada announced steps on Monday to restock barren pharmacy shelves amid what is starting to look like a perfect storm of respiratory illnesses, stating that the federal agency shares "the concerns of parents and caregivers about their inability to find infant and children's acetaminophen and ibuprofen."

"These products are essential for families, caregivers, and health care professionals to reduce fever and pain."

Health Canada says it has "secured foreign supply of children's acetaminophen that will be available for sale at retail and in community pharmacies in the coming weeks," hoping to "increase supply available to consumers and will help address the immediate situation."

But Health Canada is still pleading with the public to take "only what they need, so that other parents and caregivers can access medication so we can meet the needs of sick children."

So, basically, we're like one or two steps short of federally rationing pain medication.

Kind of like how Ontario went one step short of mandating mask use on Monday morning, with a strong recommendation that people mask up in public settings as overlapping respiratory infection outbreaks slam the already-on-the-brink health care system in the province.

Ontario's top doctor, Dr. Kieran Moore, refused to impose a mask mandate amid what he called a "triple threat" in his Monday presser, a move that has been condemned by some columnists and online commentators as more political than practical.

Others still argue that the current masking and medication situations are completely unrelated.

In addition to supplying pharmacies, Health Canada also recently approved an exceptional importation of these medications to supply understocked hospitals.

However, it's not just as simple as importing the drugs, as Health Canada must ensure that "all information related to cautions and warnings, dosing directions, ingredients, and other important details will be made available in both English and French to ensure parents and caregivers clearly understand what medication they are using and how to give to their children."

Lead photo by

Kris Pangilinan

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