PHAP bats for pharma security amid shortage of paracetamol

BY

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) said it is closely coordinating with the government on pharmaceutical security as some areas in Metro Manila are experiencing shortage of supply of certain paracetamol brands following the surge in COVID cases.

PHAP

“We are also closely coordinating with the government on pharmaceutical security, and provided recommendations to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines in the country,” said the PHAP statement on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

In a statement, Jannette Jakosalem, PHAP vice-president of PHAP and also managing director of Zuellig Pharma, said they are experiencing temporary shortage of certain paracetamol brands due to the “heightened vigilance against the Omicron and a number of people getting sick due to various reasons.”

Since the pandemic began, PHAP members have been working tirelessly to make both COVID and non-COVID medicines available to Filipinos during these challenging times.

PHAP noted that paracetamol is available in various dosage forms and strengths, combination products, and under several hundred brands. Alternative analgesics are also available and there is enough domestic supply.

“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,” Jakosalem said.

In a separate statement, UNILAB, the maker of popular paracetamol brand Biogesic, said that some of its brands are temporarily out of stock in select drugstores due to extraordinary demand. It apologized for the inconvenience it has caused.

"We assure you that we are working with our partner drugstores and retailers to accelerate the replenishment at the soonest possible time," the statement added.

Meantime, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the tightness in supply of some paracetamol brands is temporary due to cut offs in deliveries during the Christmas season.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said “There might be a temporary tight supply for some brands. But it is due to timing of deliveries to replenish the stocks in the branches of these drugstores.”

In particular, Lopez said that popular brands Biogesic or Decolgen (which are paracetamol and analgesics of Unilab), may be having temporary out of stock situations because their manufacturer had a delivery cut off last December. Deliveries, however, have started coming in this week.

Other brands and generics though have ample supply. Lopez cited Rhea Generics products are not affected as much, also because their lines are supplied by major companies.

As such, Lopez said there are other brands of paracetamol in the market so there is no shortage.

“Will also ask the drugstores to limit purchase quantity just to prevent panic buying,” he said.