Saskatchewan has not been spared a national shortage of pain and fever medication for children.
This prompted Nanogram Pharmacy, a Saskatoon compounding facility, to join a website launched by an Alberta-based pharmaceutical technology company that provides people with acetaminophen and ibuprofen – more commonly known as Tylenol and Advil – on prescription.
Increased demand for drugs has exceeded supply, said Michael Fougere, CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan. Manufacturers have also faced supply chain issues throughout the pandemic.
“We get a call every five to ten minutes, I would say. [from] someone looking for acetaminophen,” said Nanogram Pharmacy Manager Stephanie Yeboah.
CBC News spoke with 10 pharmacies in Saskatoon and Regina that did not have pediatric Advil or Tylenol as of Monday.
For many, this has been the case for two months and wholesalers and suppliers have not told them when they can expect to get more.
Some pharmacists say they occasionally receive one or two boxes of medication and limit their customers to one bottle each.
Nanogram Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy, manufactures drugs similar to Advil or Tylenol from scratch.
Although children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen products are over-the-counter medications, compound medications require a prescription.
“Because we’re doing it from scratch, we need patient-specific information,” Yeboah explained.
Edmonton-based KemNet launched its website in August, which also provides drugs to people in Alberta and Ontario.
“When the Tylenol and Advil shortage started…it was just the perfect opportunity for us to use the platform to help solve this problem,” said KemNet CEO and Founder Morẹ́nikẹ́ Ọláòṣebìkan.
A pharmacist or other prescriber such as a physician or nurse practitioner orders medications and enters customer information. Then the pharmacist reaches out to the patient and the order is fulfilled.
Customers can then pick up their medication or have it delivered to their home. They can also make requests through the site.
Yeboah said the pharmacy could prepare the drugs in just one hour.
“When you need pain relief for your child…you need it right now – you can’t wait,” Yeboah said.
“[Parents] go to the usual pharmacies, there won’t be any. Now it’s just an easy form.”