May 20, 2022

Omicron triggers a shortage of paracetamol and ibuprofen

Prof Richard Wilding, a supply chain expert at Cranfield University, said supermarkets are more likely to be hit by the painkiller supply crisis given their reliance on distributors.

“People have recalls which probably means there will be an increase in people taking this product and then you have colds, flus and Covid,” he said.

“Supply really needs to catch up to this and work with this … the new normal for supply chains is unfortunately a lot of volatility and challenges with this. Products like this are therefore more susceptible to disruption.

Michelle Riddalls, head of the consumer health body Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), said: “Any gaps on the shelves of over-the-counter medicines are likely to be local, sporadic and filled at relatively short notice. .”

She added: “Both paracetamol and ibuprofen can play an important role in managing mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19 as well as any side effects experienced after vaccination against Covid-19. This may mean that there is currently higher demand than usual. »

Omicron threatens to further aggravate supply bottlenecks as manufacturers face worker absences and countries turn to restrictions, particularly in China.

Britain relies heavily on overseas suppliers for generic drugs, such as painkillers. Around a third of generic drugs used by the NHS are made in India, which has sometimes limited drug exports during the pandemic amid rising demand.