Though there is a shortage of paracetamol brands in some retail outlets, the country’s pharmaceutical industry said the situation is only temporary brought about by a sudden increase in demand.
Filipinos on social media have complained about some drug stores having long queues and running out of paracetamol brands recently, as demand for the drug shot up along with the rise of COVID-19 infections.
But the Department of Health has said that the situation is only temporary. The Department of Trade and Industry also assuaged concerns regarding the shortage.
“Due to the sudden increase in demand for paracetamol, a medication used to treat common pains and fevers, there have been temporary stock outs in retail branches for some popular brands. Rest assured that there is enough supply, and deliveries are being expedited to replenish retail inventories,” the DTI said in a statement.
We will work with the DTI kasi baka maging problema ang hoarding.
The DTI said it is “is also in touch with drugstores and pharmacies to limit purchase quantity and prevent panic buying.”
In a statement, the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) also noted the “temporary shortage of certain brands of paracetamol in some areas.”
“We urge the public to consult their doctors and pharmacists for appropriate alternatives if they are experiencing a temporary shortage of paracetamol in their localities. We also call on them to buy only the needed number, and not overstock, because medicines have a limited shelf life or expiration date, and to consider other patients who may need them more,” PHAP said in a statement.
The Philippine Pharmacists Association also said that the situation may be resolved this week as deliveries will just have to catch up with the sudden increase in demand.
“Wala po tayong shortage of paracetamol,” Gilda Saljay, PPA president, told DZMM TeleRadyo in a Jan. 5 interview.
“We will work with the DTI kasi baka maging problema ang hoarding over the next few months so we will look into that.”
A number of drug stores have also spoken up, saying they are already working to address the temporary shortfall.
Unilab Inc. has already apologized for the situation and said the company is working with their partner drug stores to replenish their supply.
Watsons Philippines also said that “certain brands of medications for fever and colds are out of stock at some of our stores.”
“We assure the public that Watsons is working double time to address this problem. Watsons carries a complete range of medications and wellness products that are needed during the pandemic,” Watsons general manager Danilo Chiong said in a statement.