Some branded paracetamol out of stock; govt urges use of generic drugs

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 4) — A pharmaceutical company confirmed on Tuesday that some branded paracetamols are temporarily unavailable due to increased demand amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

Unilab, a leading manufacturer of flu and colds medicines, said there is a shortage of pharmacy stock bearing some of its noted brands including Bioflu, Neozep, and Solmux. The firm said it is working double time to accelerate their replenishment as soon as possible.

"Some of our brands are temporarily out of stock in select drugstores due to extraordinary demand," it said in a statement.

Zuellig Pharma also acknowledged that there is a temporary shortage of certain brands of paracetamol in some areas following the heightened vigilance against the Omicron variant. In addition, a number of people are getting sick due to various reasons, including the permeating colder weather.

"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," Jannette Jakosalem, Managing Director of Zuellig Pharma, said in a statement.

CNN Philippines was greeted by long lines outside pharmacies in Barangka, Mandaluyong on Monday night after some netizens reported difficulty in buying paracetamol.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it reached out to major drugstores and local manufacturers after seeing an increased demand for over-the-counter drugs used to treat fever and flu which are some of the common symptoms of COVID-19.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Generika President & CEO Josette Abarca shared the same experience in their branches, saying demand for branded flu medicines was five times than usual.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also noted "tight supply" for some brands, but pointed out that this is only due to the timing of deliveries to replenish stocks in drugstores.

The agency also said it is in touch with drugstores and pharmacies to limit purchase quantity to prevent panic buying.

Both the DOH and DTI stressed there is only the shortage of branded paracetamols, and urged the public to consider buying generic drugs.

"Paracetamol has many generic alternatives in the market, which are available in many drugstores nationwide," DOH said.

"There are other brands of paracetamol in the market so there is no shortage," the DTI added.

Abarca assured the public they have enough supply of generic medicines, saying these have the same efficacy as branded ones.

Pharmacist Arshie Larga, who works at his family-owned drug store in Marinduque, said they are running out of specific brands of paracetamol but have ample stock of the generic ones. He reminded the public that generic drugs are a good alternative when facing supply issues.