GN asks residents not to hoard children’s medicine due to shortage

Ministry of Health says it has stocks available at local health centers

The Department of Health purchased drugs to fill a nationwide shortage of children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These drugs are available at community health centers, such as in Naujaat at the Repulse Bay health center, pictured here. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative

The Nunavut government has purchased medications to make up for what it calls a temporary shortage of children’s Tylenol and Advil, and is asking residents not to stockpile these products.

The shortage is due to an “increased level” of respiratory illnesses and increased demand for drugs, according to a statement released Monday by Health Ministry spokeswoman Danarae Sommerville.

The GN’s drug stock is available at community health centers.

Sommerville said parents and caregivers can speak with local healthcare providers to see if a child needs the medication.

Regarding pharmacy supply, the Ministry of Health asks people to buy only the amount of drugs they need, but did not say whether it asked cooperatives and stores in the North to limit the quantity that can be purchased at one time.

The press release warns against administering adult painkillers to children without consulting a doctor.

“There is a serious risk of overdose,” he says.

Parents and caregivers are also cautioned against offering aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children as it is associated with a risk of Reye’s syndrome, a serious condition that can damage internal organs, when used to treat viral diseases.

Sommerville also said people shouldn’t use expired drugs.

The shortage of children’s drugs in Nunavut is part of a larger and ongoing shortage across the county.

Sommerville said Health Canada recently received an overseas supply of acetaminophen, the drug in Tylenol, and the GN was working with the federal department to get the drug back on shelves in the territory.

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