December 2, 2022

School asks parents to provide paracetamol as shipping delays bite

The supplier of paracetamol to schools is out of stock, citing the worst supply problems in years.

HANNAH MARTIN/Stuff

The supplier of paracetamol to schools is out of stock, citing the worst supply problems in years.

Supply shortages are starting to hit schools, with some struggling to find enough paracetamol to replenish their stocks.

Nayland College in Nelson on Wednesday asked parents to provide paracetamol, saying the school’s usual supplier had run out.

Principal Daniel Wilson said the school typically purchases more than 100 packets of pain medication at a time.

The online vendors the school had consulted only let them order one pack at a time, he said.

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First published January 2022. Omicron is having a huge impact on supply chains in New South Wales, from growers and lorry drivers to supermarket staff.

Supermarkets also still restricted the over-the-counter sale of paracetamol to one packet per person.

While the school still had enough paracetamol for emergencies and school trips, it didn’t have enough to distribute to every student who might request it, Wilson said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Wilson said the New World supermarket stepped in to help restock the school’s paracetamol supplies.

A long-time supplier of paracetamol to schools across New Zealand, Industrial First Aid Supplies Ltd in Auckland said the company had been without paracetamol for around two weeks.

Manager Bryan Middleton said the issue appeared to be a global “logistics” issue, with delays in getting products out of Asia.

“It’s a whole bunch of products right now; we have never had so many stock-outs and delayed shipments.

The Port of Shanghai, the world’s largest container port, has been hit by delays related to the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Even when the product is available outside of China, the next challenge is getting it on a ship and getting it to New Zealand, because it’s a small market.”

Overseas product supplies have become more erratic and prices have risen due to rising transportation costs, Middleton said.

A small shipment of paracetamol the company received a few weeks ago “left within days” and he was hoping to receive another shipment around the middle of this month.