Walgreens ends online purchase limits for pediatric fever reduction products

Walgreens has lifted an online purchasing limit for pediatric fever reduction products, which had previously been imposed during the height of the cold and flu season, the company announced Monday.

“Walgreens has worked diligently with our suppliers to ensure we have enough supply to meet customer demand nationwide. Due to the improved in-stock conditions of over-the-counter pediatric fever-reducing products, we have removed the online-only purchase limit,” the company wrote.

The six-item online limit, Walgreens explained, was meant to prevent excess purchases that could have created supply shortages; no limit was imposed on in-store purchases. A similar two-product limit for in-person and online purchases at CVS is still in place, according to the Associated Press.

The intense start to the cold and flu season led to a spike in demand for children’s fever and pain reduction products.

“While there is not a widespread shortage and our member companies are continuously shipping out products to retailers to replenish supply as quickly as possible … with demand for these products increasing by 65% from this same time last year, we also understand why some retailers have voluntarily set limits on purchases,” the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group, noted in December.

The first wave of the 2022-23 flu season peaked in the week ended Dec. 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This season has seen at least 24 million cases, 260,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths.

There have been 79 pediatric flu deaths this season, according to the CDC.

The 2022-23 flu season, outside of beginning earlier than usual, has otherwise been a normal flu season according to CDC experts.

“It’s not an unusually high influenza season. It’s sort of falling in with the mid- to higher range, but it’s within the limits of what we normally expect to see during a regular flu season, unfortunately. So basically, this is looking like a typical flu season, except in terms of the timing. It was just a little bit earlier than normal,” Lynnette Brammer, head of the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team, told CNN.

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