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‘Does anyone else think it’s suspicious that the FDA is taking Sudafed, DayQuil, and Benadryl off the shelves?’: Crackdown spawns conspiracy theories

'I think its weird how they keep removing the things that work!'


Beau Paul


Posted on Sep 15, 2023

Is the government after your cold medication? Does the FDA want you to have a stuffed-up nose? Or is something more sinister in the works? One TikToker is stirring up controversy by pointing out that many popular over-the-counter (OTC) cold remedies have been removed from store shelves. But the real reason isn’t as shady as he might make it out to be.

TikToker Robbie Zukowski (@just_me_robble) made some waves with a viral video he posted two days ago pointing out that many stores are pulling popular cold medications such as Sudafed, DayQuil, and Benadryl off their shelves.

The video has received over 400,000 views between its original posting and the publication of this article. And it has many viewers wondering what exactly is going on.


♬ original sound – Robble Zukowski

“Does anyone else think it’s suspicious as hell that the FDA has taken Sudafed, Dayquil, and Benadryl off the shelves?” he asks his viewers as he mixes up a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and essential oils he uses as a mouthwash / Waterpik solution.

“I’ve used Dayquil my whole life and it works!” he protests.

Zukowski’s video stirred up a fair amount of panic among his viewers, especially those who depend on OTC meds to get them through periods of sickness or allergies.

“I need Benadryl! It’s the only fix for my allergic reactions,” wrote Krissy Byington (@krissyb83) in the comments.

“Benadryl has always worked when I’ve had an allergic reaction. Anyone else?” another viewer commented.

“I literally just had flu/strep and I used day/nyquil for a week and I’m better now,” another added.

One commenter wrote, “I think it’s weird how they keep removing the things that work!”

However, the removal of the meds has a rational explanation. One of the main ingredients just doesn’t work.

In a unanimous decision made Tuesday, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel found that “A key ingredient in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medications called phenylephrine doesn’t work to get rid of nasal congestion,” according to NBC

The FDA has not yet revoked the medication’s designation as “generally recognized as safe and effective” but many stores may be getting ahead of the FDA’s likely future decision.

Phenylephrine was used in many of the meds in question as a replacement for pseudoephedrine which drugstores were required to move behind the pharmacy counter due to its use in manufacturing methamphetamine.

One of Zukowski’s viewers was aware of this and commented: “It’s only the ones with the s***ty PE ingredient that doesn’t work anyway…the Sudafed that you have to sign for is the real one and it’s still there.”

As did mikehuntniches2 (@mikehuntniches2) who wrote, “It’s because the active ingredient was changed and the new ingredient doesn’t work.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Zukowski via TikTok for further comment.

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*First Published: Sep 15, 2023, 11:26 pm CDT