‘Global shortage’ of ibuprofen continues as major UK supermarkets run out of stock

In October 2019, it was revealed there was a global shortage of supplies of ibuprofen - and it looks like that’s continuing (Photo: Shutterstock)

In October 2019, it was revealed there was a global shortage of supplies of ibuprofen - and it looks like that’s continuing.

Supermarkets in the UK are still pacing shortages of the painkiller, with some customers struggling to find and purchase it in their local supermarkets.

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Global shortage of the active ingredient

Supermarkets including Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are selling out of the painkillers.

One Twitter user posted a sign displayed in Sainsbury’s that reads, “Supply issues. We are currently experiencing supply issues across Sainsburys Ibuprofen Caplets and Tablets. We are working hard with our suppliers to resolve this as soon as possible. We apologise for any experience caused.”

Tesco said that their ibuprofen stock was low in October, due to a “global shortage” of the active ingredient in the medicine, known as API. The supermarket chain recently confirmed to the Sun Online that this is still an issue.

What is ibuprofen and what does it do?

The NHS explains that “ibuprofen is an everyday painkiller for a range of aches and pains, including back pain, period pain, toothache. It also treats inflammation such as strains and sprains, and pain from arthritis.”

It is available as tablets and capsules, a syrup that you swallow, and also comes in a gel form, as a mousse, and a spray that you rub into your skin.

In some products, ibuprofen is combined with other painkillers, and is an ingredient in some cold and flu remedies.

“You can buy most types of ibuprofen from pharmacies and supermarkets. Some types are only available on prescription,” adds the NHS.

Customers taking to Twitter

The recent ibuprofen shortage hasn’t gone unnoticed by shoppers looking to buy the painkiller, with some taking to Twitter to voice their concerns.

One Twitter user said, “I left and come home. Went to buy ibuprofen on my way back... and there wasn’t any except the v expensive liquid capsules. I just want standard pills. Pharmacist said there’s a national shortage, no idea when it’ll be in stock.”

The tweeter then added, “Brexit? Have you taken the ibuprofen?”

Another tweeted, “Finally googled this pressing question that I've been wondering about every time I go to the shop for months and months and the first result says there's a global ibuprofen shortage.”

Back in the middle of January 2020, one customer tweeted, “Is there a #ibuprofen shortage in the UK?

Been to 3 major supermarkets this week and the shelves are empty ... local @Tesco advises not in stock until 24th !!! Sort your supply chains out guys.”