Pharmacies limit purchases of children's medicines amid record hospitalizations

CVS is limiting customers to buying two children's pain relievers.
Children's medicine at Walgreens, New York City, Dec. 19, 2022

Two major pharmaceutical chains are limiting purchases of children's medicines as hospitalization rates for this time of year are at the highest level in more than a decade. 

CVS Health placed a two-product limit on purchases of children's pain relief medicine bought online or in stores, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Walgreens customers are limited to purchasing six children's over-the-counter fever reducers online, but the limit does not apply in stores.

Pharmaceutical maker Johnson & Johnson said it is continuously running its production lines. The company said widespread shortages are not occurring, but Children's Tylenol may be "less readily available" at some stores.

"We’re committed to meeting our customers’ needs and are working with our suppliers to ensure continued access to these items," a CVS spokesperson told

A Walgreens spokesperson said the company "is prepared and able to continue meeting the needs of our customers and patients."

Hospitalization rates for all age groups reached the highest levels for this time of year in more than a decade, according to The New York Times

Meanwhile, pediatric hospitalizations for RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, are at the highest levels ever recorded. Symptoms of RSV include fever, coughing and a runny nose, among other things, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

"You ask people who are involved with either emergency services or hospitalizations and they’ll tell you this is the worst season that they can remember," Dr. Daniel Rauch, head of pediatric hospital medicine at Tufts Medical Center, told the Times. "We are pretty scared for the winter... I don’t know that our staff can keep it up."