COVID surge leading to empty shelves at Virginia pharmacies

Empty store shelf at Rite Aid in Norfolk
Posted at 10:21 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 10:21:45-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Whether it’s COVID-19, a cold or allergies, you may be out of luck if you’re looking for cough and cold medicines on the shelves at some Virginia pharmacies.

"Most of the cough medications like Robitussin and brand-name Robitussin and some of the NyQuil, they are hard to keep in stock," Dr. Dileep Potnuri, the owner of Bayview SRC Pharmacy, said.

Dr. Potnuri said his shelves would be filled with more medicine, but he has seen an uptick in people coming in for cold medicine as COVID cases surge.

The cold and flu aisles are bare at one Harris Teeter in Norfolk, with the store saying the shortages on medicine are due to supply chain issues.

The Rite Aid Pharmacy on 21st Street said it's having trouble keeping cold medicine on shelves due to high demand from people getting sick. The Peoples Pharmacy in Norfolk said they are having trouble keeping Elderberry cold and flu medicine on shelves.

The increase in COVID cases is leading to more people visiting the doctor.

"We have seen an uptick of at least 100% in our virtual visits of people with [a] cough, cold and testing positive for this new variant," Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine said.

Dr. Light said cold medicine can help with symptoms of COVID or the flu and recommends, "vitamin C and zinc have been shown to help out as well."

In addition to more people needing cold medicine, supply chain shortages are also a reason for empty shelves.

"We are trying to keep it in stock, but most of them are on backorder right now," Dr. Potnuri said.



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