Voluntary removal of popular cold and cough medicines from store shelves fuels conspiracy theories

CLAIM: Over-the-counter cold and cough medicines have been pulled from pharmacy shelves in an effort to start the “next pandemic” or force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

AP ASSESSMENT: False. Not all cold medications have been removed from all store shelves. Some over-the-counter cold and cough medications contain phenylephrine as a single ingredient are being voluntarily removed in CVS stores after an FDA advisory committee found the ingredient to be ineffective. Medical experts tell the Associated Press that brands also provide other cold medications with ingredients to relieve symptoms such as congestion, but do not prevent illnesses like a flu vaccine.

THE FACTS: With the flu season Initially, posts on social media raised suspicions around the removal of some common types of cough and cold medications from store shelves.

“Dayquil, Mucinex, Sudafed, Theraflu and many others have been pulled from the shelves,” read a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Just in time for the next pandemic. Just in time for the next election. But no… Nothing to see here.

The post refers to “Plandemic“, which is a documentary-style video that promoted baseless allegations around COVID-19 vaccinations and the government’s stay-at-home orders at the time.

But this latest move is based on recent findings from experts gathered by the FDA who found phenylephrine taken orally. no more effective than taking a dummy pill.

In 2007, the FDA asked outside advisers to take another look at phenylephrine after it became the main drug used in over-the-counter decongestants when pseudoephedrine was moved behind pharmacy counters. The 2006 law forced the move because pseudoephedrine was being used illegally to produce methamphetamine.

CVS Health announced in October it will remove a small number of oral decongestants that contain phenylephrine as the only active ingredient. Phenylephrine is found in popular versions of Sudafed, Dayquil and other medications. Other national chain drugstores did not pull any products. The FDA told the AP in a statement that it has not asked manufacturers or retail pharmacies to remove products containing the drug.

In a statement to the AP, Walgreens said the company is monitoring the situation and will partner with its clinical integrity office and suppliers “on the appropriate next steps.” Rite Aid told the AP in a statement that it follows the FDA’s guidance and is “committed to providing convenient access to products approved to meet the health needs of our customers.”

“While some may find the timing of this FDA advisory committee’s conclusion being released during cold and flu season to be less than ideal, I hope it prompts patients to talk with their health care providers about other options that may actually be more effective for them.” Michael Hegener, an associate professor of pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, wrote to the AP.

While medical experts tell the AP that the The FDA’s decision on the drug’s effectiveness Not surprisingly, there have been no safety concerns surrounding its use at prescribed levels, said Dr. Lauren Eggert, a clinical assistant professor in the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at Stanford University. School of Medicine.

“I just want to reiterate that it’s completely safe,” Eggert said regarding the use of phenylephrine. “It’s really just a question of effectiveness.” Eggert also noted that this advice only helps push patients toward using medications that are more effective.

Experts told the AP that other versions of Sudafed and cold medications that do not use phenylephrine are still available. Sudafed with pseudoephedrine, for example, relieves cold symptoms, but is installed behind the counter of the pharmacy.

“My recommendation for the common cold is supportive care,” said Eggert, who recommends staying rested and hydrated if a person is sick, and notes that getting necessary vaccines such as the flu shot is key to prevention


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.

#Voluntary #removal #popular #cold #cough #medicines #store #shelves #fuels #conspiracy #theories
Image Source : apnews.com

Leave a Comment