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Liquid ibuprofen in stock amidst shortage in NZ

Monday 30 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, National


Liquid ibuprofen in stock amidst shortage in NZ
Cook Islands Ministry of Health chief pharmacist, Andrew Orange. 16080910

A leading Cook Islands pharmacy is asking customers to be “considerate” with purchases of liquid ibuprofen following a shortage in its supply in New Zealand.

Cook Islands Trading Corporation Limited (CITC) pharmacies have a reserve of liquid ibuprofen in their dispensary for those who need it.

They are hopeful their stock will last until the next shipment arrives.

CITC pharmacy manager, Ashleigh Bennie said that although they don’t have any foreseeable supply issues, customers are encouraged to be considerate with their purchases, and not to attempt to stockpile medicines.

CITC pharmacy primarily sources their medicines from New Zealand, said Bennie.

However, supply of ibuprofen in New Zealand has become a problem, and has been since 2021, according to Radio New Zealand.

Pharmac chief medical officer Dr David Hughes told RNZ: “As far as we are aware, the issue was caused by a sharp increase in demand domestically and delays in shipping, not due to international supply issues for similar medicines.”

CITC’s Bennie said: “We primarily source our medicines from New Zealand and as such, we are being affected by the shortage of liquid ibuprofen that New Zealand is currently experiencing.”

“This shortage is across all brands available in New Zealand and has many causal factors including increased demand from viral illnesses and shipping issues.”

She explained that ibuprofen is a medicine used to help treat fever, pain and inflammation.

Bennie said they have ibuprofen tablets and capsules available under the brand names “Nurofen”, “Advil” and “Ethics Ibuprofen” but “we do not have any liquid ibuprofen on the shelves”.

“Paracetamol or Pamol is an alternative to ibuprofen and we currently have a good stock of liquid paracetamol.”

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health chief pharmacist Andrew Orange says there is no shortage of ibuprofen oral suspension in the Cook Islands. 

He said Te Marae Ora has a good amount of this product on hand and will easily have enough until the shortage in New Zealand has been resolved, by early February.

“Ibuprofen oral suspension is mainly dispensed for children, but very occasionally it will be dispensed for an adult who cannot swallow tablets. 

“TMO use has been steady over the last five years, with the usage trend perhaps slightly declining since the middle of 2020.”

Orange adds ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever and helps to treat pain associated with inflamed muscles and joints. 

“It’s one of a number of anti-inflammatory medicines available from TMO or private pharmacies on Rarotonga. It has reasonably mild side effects, but should be taken with food to minimise the risk of stomach irritation.”