Dabawenyos hoard branded paracetamol but supply of generic drugs is stable

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 January) — Drugstores here are running out of some branded paracetamol due to hoarding but the Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPHA) Davao Chapter assured the public that supply of generic drugs remains stable. 

Dr. Kenny James Merin, PPHA Davao president told a virtual presser on Friday that Dabawenyos may no longer be able to buy some branded paracetamol in the local pharmacies as fears brought about by the threat of Omicron variant in the country triggered a panic-buying behavior. 

“Do not panic buy. If you are buying when you do not need them, those who really need paracetamol will not be able to buy,” he added.

The city anticipates a surge in coronavirus cases by the third or fourth week of this month due to the holiday gatherings.

As of January 7, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported 99 new cases, bringing the total cases to 54,124 with 243 active, 52,088 recovered, and 1,793 dead.

Merin said some pharmacies may no longer have supplies of branded paracetamol but told the public that there is no need to panic buy because they can still get generic drugs.

Merin said that generic drugs are as effective as branded counterparts.

These days, he said, many customers have been buying paracetamol by boxes.

“Rest assured that our drugstores are replenishing their stocks. We have generic or alternative brands of our paracetamol. So those who need it, they can still get paracetamol,” he said.

He added that pharmacies have been directed to limit the purchase of every customer to one pad or two while waiting for the stock replenishment “to make sure that everyone in our community will have access to paracetamol if they need it, particularly for those who are having flu or flu-like symptoms.”

“Currently, the stock level of our paracetamol is really low. Why is that? In every business, we have this so-called stock leveling and it will be depleted by the sudden increase in demand. This does not mean that we can no longer look for stocks,” he said.

He said they expect more stocks of paracetamol to arrive in the city in the coming weeks.

He warned the public to be cautious in buying paracetamols online and from other stores amid the proliferation of counterfeit drugs.

“Only buy from legitimate drugstores. Do not buy from other stores with no pharmacists because you are putting yourself at risk. If you buy from legitimate drugstores, you are assured that their generic drugs are as effective as the branded drugs,” he said.

He added that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently warned of the proliferation of counterfeit medicines.

He said counterfeit drugs may cause serious health concerns.

“Do not compromise your safety. It will no longer matter how much online sellers are selling it for because what is important is whether they have the authority to sell. If they are not regulated by the FDA, it only means the quality of their product is not being checked,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)