Cough medicine in short supply because of demand from people, pets

Published: January 13, 2022 9:31 PM EST
Updated: January 13, 2022 10:35 PM EST

Everything from paper supplies to certain drinks, even everyday things like aspirin, are hard to find on store shelves. Now you can add another shortage to that list; cough medicine, but it isn’t all because of human demand.

Along with people, people’s pets are getting sick in large numbers.

A Fort Myers pharmacist said over-the-counter cough medicine was recommended mainly to pet owners.

Between sick pets, the labor shortage, and mass amounts of people impacted by COVID-19 and the flu, cough medicine could be hard to find.

Southwest Florida is not immune to the national cough medicine shortage.

“Actually, I’ve been seeing it for a long time now,” said Pharmacist Justin Cerevallo.

Cerevallo said some of the cough medicine could have been sold to pet owners. “There’s only certain things that can be used in pets because of the dangers of other medications. So the one medication that is working is the one that’s not available.”

Cough medicine is also hard to find because of labor shortages meaning there are not enough drivers to deliver products to the stores.

“So essentially, when you put those two factors together, the warehouse has been shut down for periods of time. And then also the higher demand they’re not able to keep up with it,” said TJ Depaloa, the pharmacy manager at Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Punta Gorda.

There are cough syrup alternatives.

“There are cough medications that they make in pill form. Over the counter, you do have different things,” said Cerevallo.

Pharmacies in less populated areas may have more chough medicine in stock.

Depaloa said, “we have had some shortages on some products, unfortunately. Fortunately, though, for us, there’s enough products out there that we can find substitutes for the patients.”

Pharmacists recommend you talk to them or your doctor about cough medicine alternatives if you need them.