Ibuprofen supply problems due to strongly increased demand – Pharmac

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Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Through Libby Kirkby McLeod

National supply of liquid ibuprofen, most commonly used for pain relief in children, remains a problem across the country.

RNZ spoke to a parent in Waikato who said she was unable to obtain her child’s prescription for ibuprofen last week because subsidized ibuprofen was not available at their local pharmacy.

Her child needed it for post-surgery pain relief, so the woman had to buy a brand-name ibuprofen product that cost more than $20 instead.

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Dr. David Hughes, medical chief of pharmacy, said they are aware of the supply problem which has been a problem since 2021.

“As far as we know, the problem was caused by a surge in domestic demand and shipping delays, not by international delivery problems for similar drugs,” Hughs said.

The fresh stock arrived in the country just before Christmas, but it took longer to go through quality assurance and shipping due to the holiday season.

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Some backorders were still outstanding, but a large shipment — about 4 months of equivalent stock — arrived in the country this week, Hughs said.

This shipment was expected to be ready to ship by the end of the week, and another shipment — the equivalent of nine months — was expected to arrive next week, he said.

The supplier was expected to return to full capacity starting this week, he said.

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“The supplier has doubled its orders compared to last year to increase stocks and buffer against another major flu season.

“We have another shipment scheduled for May, which should mean there will be no more delivery problems from this week onwards, even if the increased demand continues.”

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