Drug stores running out of cold medicine as COVID cases spike

Cold Medicine 3

Not much cold medicine left at CVS Pharmacy on Clairemont Drive. The shortage comes as COVID cases continue to rise in the area.Photo: Eddie McCoven

SAN DIEGO (KOGO) - As more and more people in San Diego County catch a winter cold and as COVID-19 cases continue to spike, another supply shortage can be seen at area drug stores.

Over-the-counter cold medicines, especially cough suppressants, are in short supply. Local pharmacists tell reporting partner 10 News it's a tough situation.

"It's frustrating for the patients, it's frustrating for us as pharmacists, seeing our patients that they need recourses, they need medications and at this point everything is backed up," says Brenda Cortez, Pharmacist at Palm Care Pharmacy in National City.

Local drug stores aren't the only ones having trouble keeping basic cold medicine on the shelves. Big chains like Target and Walgreens have also had trouble keeping up with the demand this cold and flu season. A quick trip to Vons on Clairemont Drive showed shelves thinning out, while a nearby CVS pharmacy had much less cold medicine in stock and was completely out of cough drops. If you strike out at the big name stores, you may still want check out the nearest mom and pop shop. Family-owned Balboa Pharmacy in Clairemont has a small but ample supply of cold medicine in stock.

Balboa Pharmacy

Balboa Pharmacy in Clairemont has a small, but well stocked selection of cold medicine available. Photo: Eddie McCoven

Cases of the new highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 could be to blame for the recent run on cold medicine. Symptoms of the new variant are similar to that of the cold or the flu, including cough, congestion, runny nose and soar throat.

Here's more from our reporting partner 10 News.

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