Health Canada flags inflated prices of kid’s pain medicine on Amazon amid shortage

WATCH: Parents explore alternatives as shortage of children’s pain medication continues

Health Canada says it’s aware children’s pain medications were being listed for sale on Amazon at inflated prices and has raised the issue with the retailer as Canadian parents struggle to find products like Advil and Tylenol products amid a nationwide shortage.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Global News Tuesday the company had been in contact with Health Canada for a number of weeks now.

“The Department was made aware that children’s pain medications were being sold online at inflated prices on,” Andrea Richer, a Health Canada spokesperson, told Global News in an emailed statement Monday evening, adding that the regulator “took immediate action by informing Amazon of this issue.”

“Amazon confirmed that they can take action against a seller should they become aware of inflated prices that could harm customer trust,” she said.

Health Canada does not have jurisdiction over the product pricing, but “plays an active role in ensuring that Canadians have access to safe and effective drugs and health products,” Richer said.

Amazon was actively monitoring for such violations and will investigate any product listing that Health Canada may bring to its attention, she added.

Over the past few days, posts have surfaced on social media showing packs of children’s pain medication products on sale for close to $300. Those product listings appear to have since been removed.

Amazon said sellers set their own product prices on its platform, but there are policies in place to “help ensure sellers are pricing their products competitively”.

“We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies,” a spokesperson for Amazon said in response to a Global News query Monday.

Ontario’s Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery said: “The reselling of children’s medication at a higher price is reprehensible and utterly unacceptable.”

Since the summer, infant and children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen products have been in limited supply in retail outlets, pharmacies and hospitals across Canada.

Health Canada says the shortage is due to unprecedented demand, as pediatricians noted an unusually early rise in viral illnesses over the spring and summer months this year.

On Monday, the agency announced it had secured more foreign shipments of children’s pain medication that will be available for retail purchase “in the coming weeks.”

Last month, Health Canada approved the exceptional importation of ibuprofen from the United States and acetaminophen from Australia, to supply hospitals in Canada amid the shortages.

— with files from Teresa Wright 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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