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The ‘Tripledemic’ Illness Season Has Hit the Medicine Supply Chain

January 6, 2023 Leave a comment DRI Admin

Dominoes continue to fall, as the winter illness trifecta of COVID, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) isn’t just making people sick – it’s having an increasing impact on the supply chain of much-needed medicines, a shortage not seen in more than a decade.

If you’re a resilience professional and/or a parent, you may have noticed it’s harder to get hold of children’s pain and fever relievers. As with many issues over the past two years, you can look to cracks in the supply chain. In November, the FDA announced an “acute shortage” of a form of amoxicillin used to make liquid doses, which could “lead to potentially serious or life-threatening situations … in the pediatric population.”

As a result, drugstore chains including CVS and Walgreens have limited sales of over-the-counter children’s fever relievers. The last time a shortage of this type was seen was 2011.

But if drug manufacturers typically match supply to demand ahead of the usually predictable cold and flue season, what changed? Masking and distancing behaviors may be the key. The previous illness seasons had factored in COVID-era behaviors to reduce illness transmission, possibly based on these behaviors.

In the meantime, the loosening of mask restrictions, coupled with increases in other seasonal respiratory illnesses, and a lack of qualified amoxicillin drug manufacturers mean one thing – the medicine supply chain and seasonal illnesses are in for a prolonged battle, and the rest of us are caught in the middle.

The “tripledemic” season is far from over, so now is the time to communicate best health practices with your organization to keep the spread of illness at bay.


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