Headache in Malaysia’s Johor Baru over paracetamol shortage
Pharmacies in the Malaysian state of Johor Baru are facing a paracetamol shortage as demand for the drug commonly used to relieve headaches and fever has skyrocketed over the past few months.
A check at pharmacies around the city found most shelves emptied out, especially for leading brands.
Pharmacist G Navin Shankar, 31, said the shortage had become more severe over the past few months.
“The demand for paracetamol has been on the rise since last year but the situation has got worse lately.
“We have been running out of the drug for close to two months and prior to that, the stock we received is also a lot less compared to pre-pandemic times.
“For example, if we used to get about 100 boxes previously, we now receive only about 10 boxes,” he said at a pharmacy in Taman Nong Chik.
Navin added that fever, cough and flu medication are also running low while demand continues to rise.
Assistant pharmacist Khairullisa Abdullah, 24, said that diarrhoea and anti-inflammatory medicines are also in high demand.
“At the moment, we have run out of flu, fever, cough, diarrhoea and anti-inflammatory medication.
“For paracetamol, we have some stocks of lesser-known brands. However, they still work the same as leading brands. We notice that herbs that are commonly used to relieve fever and cough are also in high demand since the influenza outbreak,” she said.
Another pharmacist who only wanted be known as Tan said the paracetamol supply has shrunk significantly since the beginning of the year.
“The supply for fever, flu and cough medicine has also dropped since around April.
“Suppliers are unable to deliver the required amount of medicine we request as they have to divide the limited stock of medicine they have to other pharmacies as well,” he said.
Checks for paracetamol at convenience stores, including those at petrol stations, also found most shelves emptied.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in Parliament that sales of paracetamol jumped by 238 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous year.
Asia News Network