VANCOUVER - Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says supplies of children's painkillers are increasing rapidly, but not quickly enough to meet an expected winter surge in demand.

Duclos, speaking after funding meetings with provincial and territorial counterparts in Vancouver, says the shortages that have left pharmacy and other retailers' shelves bare are a “serious concern."

He says the shortages were discussed at the ministerial talks and "all actions are open" at the federal level.

Duclos says Health Canada officials are meeting painkiller producers and other stakeholders “almost every day” to secure access to the drugs.

Health Canada issued an advisory in early October warning that children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen were in short supply.

The advisory blamed “unprecedented demand” for the shortages of popular brands such as Tylenol and Advil at retailers, pharmacies and hospitals.

Duclos says the shortages are part of the reason children’s hospitals across the country are “overwhelmed."

“Fortunately the supply has also increased very rapidly, but not yet enough to replenish the stocks that are going to be needed in the next weeks and months."

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix says provincial and federal authorities have been working together to deal with the shortages, and in the meantime parents should not hoard the medications.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.