Mail on Sunday coverage of over-the-counter medicines supply

Michelle Riddalls, Chief Executive of PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, which represents the manufacturers of over-the counter-medicines (OTC) has said: “This winter we have seen, and continue to see, a significant increase in cough, cold and flu; this has resulted in an increase in demand for over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Compared to this time last year, our members have noted that there has been an increase in demand, of nearly a quarter, for these OTC products. We are grateful for the efforts that pharmacists and retailers are making to meet this demand.  “PAGB members who are manufacturers of over-the counter cough and cold medicines have said that they are running to maximum capacity to meet consumer needs. And while demand in these products remains high, they are doing all they can to supply as much as of these medicines as possible. “Manufactures are delivering directly to retailers and are also supplying over-the-counter medicines to wholesalers. Wholesalers decide when and who they then distribute to and under what terms. Any challenges experienced by an individual wholesaler is not indicative of the health and supply of the OTC sector more widely. Stock levels at wholesalers change daily. A weekly snapshot is out of date soon after it is produced.  “Manufactures are keen to ensure customers have regular stock and that supplies are distributed widely. As a result, some products are put on ‘allocation’ this means that while medicines are available to purchase, a single retailer or wholesaler, for example, cannot order all the stock. ‘Due dates’ listed on wholesaler stock levels relate to when products are off allocation and are in free supply. The use of allocating product is a routine supply chain method of helping to prevent out of stocks in times of high demand across the sector. It is important to note that these products are still available and are being supplied by manufacturers to wholesalers and retailers whilst under allocation with the aim of preventing supply issues. “Supply to smaller independent pharmacies or shops will come via orders from wholesalers, any possible local and limited challenges reported in acquiring medicines through this route would not be an accurate reflection of how most over-the-counter medicines are supplied to customers: which is directly from manufacturer to retailer.  “Some smaller individual pharmacists may encounter sporadic issues, and any consumers experiencing temporary difficulties in purchasing their preferred brand at a pharmacy, can speak to their pharmacists for advice about the wide number of other products that are still available to manage their symptoms. “The vast majority of the sales of the over-the-counter medicines are made via retailers and large pharmacy chains, who have an adequate selection of stock of OTC products.”  ENDS Notes to editors:      PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, represents the manufacturers of branded OTC medicines, self-care medical devices and food supplements in the UK.  For further information please contact Farhana Hawthorn, Media and Public Affairs Manager,, 07522616526   

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