Imported children’s medication has lower concentration, different dosing: Alberta Blue Cross

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Children’s medication being imported by the Alberta government is a weaker dose and parents will need more of the drug to treat pain and fever in their children.

In a bulletin for pharmacists, the Alberta Blue Cross said Parol, a liquid pediatric acetaminophen, comes with a different dose and dosing device than domestic products.

The 5 million bottles of Parol are a 24 mg/ml oral suspension, which is a weaker solution than the 32 mg/ml Canadian-authorized drug. This means parents will have to administer more to get similar results.

As part of the Risk Mitigation Plan to address the differences, the bulletin said Parol must be kept behind the counter and pharmacists “are expected to provide counselling and education to parents/caregivers on the safe and correct usage.”

The Alberta Government spent $80 million to secure the medication from Turkiye last year, with the unit cost per bottle coming out to around $14.

Despite the lower concentration, the bulletin said the 150-ml bottles of Parol will be priced similar to other Canadian-authorized acetaminophen products and the Alberta Blue Cross recommends a retail price of $11.99.

The first shipment of the medication arrived in Edmonton in January, with the 250,000 doses given to hospitals in the province.

No dates have been given on when additional shipments will arrive for Alberta pharmacies, but a representative for the minister of health said “an update about the government’s efforts to address this medication shortage will be provided in the coming days.”

“Different strengths of acetaminophen are currently sold in Canada, depending on the format and intended age group,” press secretary Scott Johnston wrote in an email.

“As with any over-the-counter product, parents and caregivers should also read the package instructions carefully to determine the correct amount to give to children”.

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