Surge in respiratory illnesses causing medication shortage, Orlando pediatrician says

Increased demand for antibiotics, over-the-counter medications

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 checked out a pharmacy and saw empty spots on shelves, where medications should be.

There wasn’t much to choose from if you’re looking for over-the-counter medications for children.

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According to the Consumer Health Products Association, it’s not a supply problem, but rather the result of increased demand.

An Orlando pediatrician and the owner of Nona Pediatric Center, Dr. Salma Elfaki, said parents are also having trouble getting some prescriptions filled.

Dr. Elfaki said some of the medications seeing shortages are amoxicillin, Adderall and albuterol.

She said over the last couple of months there’s been a growing medication shortage for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“It slowly started to show up in online forums where doctors were discussing that, ‘hey can anybody find amoxicillin,’ things like that, and then it started happening with over-the-counter medication and then other prescriptions as well,” said Dr. Elfaki.

Dr. Elfaki said they’re seeing an early surge in respiratory virus season, making the meds that much more in demand.

She said with the shortages in some medications, she’s had to get more creative with treatment.

“Sometimes we’ll need to reach out to the insurance companies and try to get them to perhaps cover things that are more expensive that might be available,” said Dr. Elfaki.

Dr. Elfaki said she expects the shortage to extend into the new year, especially with an anticipated surge of respiratory illnesses that usually comes in late winter.

According to Johnson & Johnson, makers of children’s Motrin and children’s Tylenol, they said they’re now running their factories 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to try and catch up with demand.

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About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.