THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) estimated that there would be a stable supply of paracetamol within the week, amid efforts by manufacturers and drugstores to replenish their stocks.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in a Viber message to reporters on Wednesday that a reasonable time to catch up with the replenishment of paracetamol stocks across drugstores is within the week as drugstores are restocking their inventories.
“For Watsons, they have started already and Watson said they will distribute to their branches today. For Mercury Drug, they will start delivering tomorrow (Thursday) instead of this coming Saturday. United Laboratories, Inc. (Unilab) said they are expediting this week,” Mr. Lopez said.
Further, the Trade chief said manufacturers suggested that there was no need to put a purchasing limit on paracetamol since they can supply, adding that drugstores are able to impose limits on the allowed quantity to be bought if they see unnecessary bulk purchases.
Previously, Mr. Lopez said there was no shortage of paracetamol in the market, but disclosed that there was tight supply for some brands due to the timing of deliveries to replenish stocks across drugstores.
“There are other brands of paracetamol in the market so there is no shortage. There are also a lot of generic products in the market,” Mr. Lopez said.
In a separate television interview on Wednesday, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) Vice-President Jannette Jakosalem said the group was processing orders to replenish stocks across drugstores.
PHAP member firms include Pfizer, Mercury Drug, Zuellig Pharma, Watsons, and Metro Drug, Inc.
“In two to three days, we will be able to replenish. They can place the order now. If they are in Metro Manila, we can deliver on the same day,” Ms. Jakosalem said in mixed English and Filipino.
“The out-of-stock situations across big drugstores, we are already reaching out so that they can replenish. We are willing to help,” she added.
To recall, Unilab issued an advisory on Tuesday disclosing that some of its brands are temporarily out of stock in select drugstores following “extraordinary demand.”
The Department of Health recently urged the public to refrain from hoarding, panic-buying, or unnecessary purchases of paracetamol and other drugs for flu-like symptoms. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave