Families on the hunt for children’s Tylenol as respiratory viruses spike

"It's really an issue of demand"
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 10, 2022

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Children’s Tylenol is flying off pharmacy and other store shelves as parents scramble to find fever relief for their children.

There is a shortage due to high demand because there has been a major rise in respiratory, RSV, and flu cases among kids.  

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Canadian border in Buffalo.

Many Canadians are heading over the border into Buffalo and Niagara Falls because there's an even bigger shortage in Canada. 

“We don't find Tylenol — so this Saturday I'm going to Buffalo,” declared a Canadian grandmother. 

The grandmother from Canada is on the hunt for children's Tylenol for her granddaughter's respiratory illness. 

Peace Bridge in Buffalo.

Canadian families are opting to cross the border in search of over-the-counter medicine for sick kids.

“I decided on my own terms to go to the states, Buffalo and they had a few bottles left. I took one and let the person beside me take one,” described a Canadian mom.

Pharmacist Don Arthur owns the Brighton Eggert Pharmacy in the Town of Tonawanda. He says he's had at least two Canadians come to his store. 

"Drove all the way across the Peace Bridge — came in just to purchase some Tylenol,” explained Arthur. 

Children’s Tylenol is also running low at the Brighton Eggert Pharmacy, but Arthur is expecting a shipment on Friday. 

Shortages of children's Tylenol.

“From what we've heard from J&J, the makers of Tylenol, it's not a raw material issue, which is sometimes the case. It’s not a manufacturing facility issue, which is often the case, with our government keeping a close eye on our drug supply, it's really an issue of demand,” Arthur noted. 

Children's Tylenol works to bring down a fever and relieve pain in children.  

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Dr. Kathleen Grisanti, pediatrician, Pediatric & Adolescent Care of WNY.

“Because it is important to keep the fever under control, to make the children feel much more comfortable when they are ill. Children under the age of six months should not be receiving ibuprofen, so the acetaminophen is important to have,” Dr. Kathleen Grisanti, pediatrician, Pediatric & Adolescent Care of WNY.

But even if you can't find children's Tylenol, the doctor tells me it's okay to use a generic brand. 

Generic children's medicine.

“Tylenol is just a brand name, and so its acetaminophen is just as effective — doesn't matter what company manufactures it,” remarked Dr. Grisanti. 

“And if you're not able to get the liquid formulations you know there are powders actually — that Tylenol makes a powder formula — there are chewables, which can be crushed — put in applesauce, so probably not a bad idea,” described Arthur. 

Children's acetaminophen.

Arthur says while there is "absolutely there is a shortage", he doesn't want parents to panic. 

“We're having a difficult time getting it. Every day we check what we have on these two shelves and we take a look at what's available from the manufacturer and our distributors and we buy what we can,” Arthur remarked.

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Child coughing.

But Canadian parents say it's very stressful and crossing the border was their best option.

“It's really hard. It's really stressful because you care about your baby,” declared a Canadian mom.