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CVS Removing Cold Medicines with Phenylephrine


CVS is taking a proactive stance by removing certain cough and cold medicines from its shelves following a recent determination by a panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The panel unanimously found that the primary ingredient in many popular over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, oral phenylephrine, is ineffective in clearing congested noses when taken orally. Although the FDA has not yet mandated the removal of products containing oral phenylephrine, CVS is voluntarily discontinuing the sale of certain cough and cold medicines that have phenylephrine as the sole active ingredient.

The affected medications include well-known brands such as NyQuil, Benadryl, Sudafed, and Mucinex. CVS is aligning its actions with the FDA’s determination and is committed to complying with any directives from the agency. While the removal of oral phenylephrine could impact CVS and other retail pharmacy chains that generate revenue from the sale of over-the-counter cold and allergy pills, the company is prioritizing customer well-being.

Oral products listing phenylephrine as the sole active ingredient, such as Sudafed PE, will be phased out from CVS stores. Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health spinoff, Kenvue, markets Sudafed PE, but Kenvue has not yet responded to inquiries about CVS’s decision.

The move by CVS is seen as a precautionary measure to ensure that the products offered in its stores align with the latest findings and comply with relevant laws and regulations. CVS stores will continue to provide other oral cough and cold products to meet the diverse needs of customers. It’s important to note that the withdrawal of oral phenylephrine could lead patients to explore alternative formulations, such as liquid and spray versions of the drugs, or consider entirely new medications. The decision reflects CVS’s commitment to maintaining the quality and effectiveness of the products available to consumers and underscores the company’s responsiveness to evolving health recommendations.

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