Almost no fever juice available for children

“When children are in pain, it hurts the parents twice as much,” Nojan Nejatian describes the emotions he sometimes has to deal with in his pharmacy. Mothers and fathers who want to buy fever juice for their sick young children are currently being disappointed almost everywhere. The market has been swept empty, supplies are faltering. “Sometimes we have to listen to something,” says the pharmacist who runs the Heegbach pharmacy in Erzhausen near Darmstadt.

But neither pharmacists nor wholesalers are to blame for the current shortage of ibuprofen- and paracetamol-containing juices for children. According to Ursula Funke, chairman of the State Chamber of Pharmacists in Hessen, the cost pressure, the dependence on production in the Far East and the concentration on a few producers of active ingredients make a significant contribution to this. “If the active ingredients are made by only two or three companies, and one of them fails, you can feel it all over the world,” says Funke. Paracetamol production, for example, was curtailed by one producer in June, at Nejatian.

Funke complains that medicine production for the German market takes place primarily in China and India, which creates unmanageable dependencies, especially in times of crisis. There are always bottlenecks in the supply of medicine, says the pharmacist, but she currently sees the shortage as “extreme”.

Own production at the pharmacy possible, but not economical

“This morning, a certain antibiotic could not be ordered,” says Funke. In most cases, an alternative preparation can then be issued after consultation with the prescribing doctor. Before the pandemic, a patient in such a case would be sent back from the pharmacy to the general practitioner and would have to have a new prescription written there. But the SARS-CoV-2 Drug Supply Ordinance allows patients to be supplied with the necessary drugs without further medical contacts.

But there are no such alternatives to relieve the pain of young children. Anyone who believes that they will be more successful on the Internet will also be disappointed there: “Not available”, “Not available”, “Temporarily sold out” is what you read there as soon as you search for fever syrup for children , said to contain ibuprofen or paracetamol.

Nejatian therefore decided to produce it himself. He now makes his own fever juices at his pharmacy. Although any pharmacist can do this in small quantities, the production is not commercially worthwhile. The wholesale drug, if available, would cost around three euros. To at least cover his costs, Nejatian estimates around 10 euros. The fact that he got permission from the regional council to produce larger quantities is due to his assumption that the fever suppositories could soon become scarce. “I can see from the ordering behavior of the pharmacies that everyone is trying to store some of it.” Then there was only juice left to soothe the pain of small children – or the road to the hospital.

Since suppositories are more difficult to produce himself, he depends on the juice, which he can then sell to other pharmacists. In any case, the production is complex: because the labor is expensive and the documentation of the production must be extensive. “But in the end it’s about being able to help the children.”

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