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San Diego pharmacies face cold, flu medicine shortage

Posted at 6:07 AM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 09:07:41-05

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) — Cold and flu medications are becoming harder to find throughout the country, and numerous pharmacies across San Diego County say it's been hard to keep up with the increase in demand.

Palm Care Pharmacy in National City is just one of five locations owned by pharmacist Usama Alkazaki. He said all of his locations are struggling to keep up with the demand for cold and flu medications that aren't lasting very long on the shelves.

Alkazaki said the demand for these medications started around the holiday season, at the same time that the omicron COVID-19 variant was first detected.

He said the products in highest demand are cough suppressants, congestion medications, cough drops, and inhalers.

Alkazaki doubled and even tripled his orders, but even then, some shelves sit empty. If patients can't find what they need, Palm Care delivers for free.

Alkazaki's pharmacies also have an on-site clinic where they can prescribe medications and patients can get tested for COVID-19.

Big box pharmacies like Walgreens and Vons are also facing similar problems. Over the weekend, several South Bay locations were photographed with empty shelves.

Pharmacists like Alkazaki expect the shortages continue, as they work to keep providing care for those that are sick.