Lemsip stripped from shelves at Woolworths, Coles amid shortages

As the dire winter conditions take hold across the country, product shortages continue to impact supermarkets.

But this time, Coles and Woolworths are seeing shelves stripped of Lemsip, a popular cold and flu drink containing paracetamol, and it's a grim reminder of the reality we're currently faced with.

Not only is Australia battling Covid Omicron sub-variants BA4 and BA5 and rising reinfections, but experts have warned about a rise of influenza cases currently crippling the nation.

Lemsip, manufactured by UK company Reckitt Benckiser, offers temporary relief of cold and flu symptoms including body aches and pains, sore throat, headache and nasal congestion, and it's been flying off the shelves.

Lemsip medicine on shelf
Supermarkets are experiencing shortages of Lemsip, a drink that offers relief for cold and flu symptoms. Source: Getty

Social media users have shared their frustrations online, slamming the lack of basic household items available on supermarket shelves — including Lemsip.

"Is anyone else experiencing a Lemsip shortage?" one person wrote on Twitter on Monday.

"Yeah it’s completely unavailable where I am," someone else responded.

Meanwhile, another said "the local Woolies is rationing tissues," while the "local shops are sold out of Lemsip."

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Customers encouraged to 'only buy what they need'

Coles and Woolworths confirmed to Yahoo News Australia they are both experiencing shortages.

"The early start to the flu season has resulted in higher levels of demand for cold and flu products, such as Lemsip," a Woolworths spokesperson said.

"We’re working closely with suppliers to maintain regular and consistent deliveries of cold and flu stock to supermarkets.

"We encourage everyone to continue shopping as they normally would and only buy what they need."

Yahoo understands that stock levels vary among Woolworths stores, and that there are still some packets available. Other brands of hot drinks are also still available.

Empty toilet paper shelf at Woolworths with empty trolley
Supermarkets have experienced a wide range of shortages including toilet paper, tissues, eggs, meat and lettuce. Source: Getty

'Increased demand and supply chain issues'

Coles attributes product shortages to "increased demand," but said "supply chain issues" are also to blame.

It's not just Lemsip shortages they're dealing with but other products "that can help ease cold and flu symptoms".

"Unfortunately, we are also currently experiencing supply chain issues for Lemsip, which means customers might not be able to find this product on our shelves," a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo.

"We understand the frustration for customers and are working hard with our supplier to improve availability as quickly as possible."

Aussie supermarkets stripped of basics

In recent months, Aussies have become accustomed to bare supermarket shelves.

This year alone, toilet paper, tissues, meat, eggs and lettuce supplies have all been impacted due to Covid-19, recent floods and supply chain issues.

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