IT WAS penicillin for strep A, now pharmacies in the Vale are seeing a shortage of cold and flu medicines.

A pharmacist in Penarth described how everywhere seems ‘decimated’ of cold and flu medication as people scramble for items like Lemsip and night nurse to treat their seasonal illnesses.

Another pharmacist, Nikesh Patel, who runs stores in Cardiff and Barry, including St Brides pharmacy on the town’s Ramsey Road, said patients need to be open to alternatives as pharmacies try to manage supply issues.

In Penarth, the pharmacist, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how it seems people just cannot get hold of over-the-counter cold and flu remedies.

“I’ve never known it as bad as this,” they said. “When customers come into our store they ask, have you got this? and we say no, but we have this.”

Even major high street chain Boots admitted it has seen some of its stock fall.

A spokesperson from Boots said: “General availability of cough and cold relief at our stores across the UK is good, and enough to meet current demand.

“There may be temporary shortages in some stores of a particular brand such as Lemsip, but there will almost always be suitable alternatives available."

The pharmacist in Penarth described the solution as simple, saying paracetamol is as good as anything and to be open to alternatives

“People are creatures of habit, but pharmacies have other things they can offer you," they said.

“You may not be able to get the particular brand you want, for example you might not get lemsip but you can get paracetamol. People just need to be open and ask us, what alternatives can they use?”

Barry And District News:

St Brides pharmacy in Barry has seen a high demand in cold and flu remedies

In Barry, Mr Patel said, with things opening-up after the pandemic, there was a higher risk of people getting sick, and pharmacies needed to manage the situation.

“During the pandemic people were healthier because they were wearing masks and distancing and our stocks were high,” said Mr Patel, “but now we must remember this is the first winter we have had with no masks and a lot more people are getting sick again.”