Pharma group appeals to public: Just buy enough vitamins, maintenance meds
MANILA, Philippines — People are stockpiling vitamins and maintenance medicines to ensure they have enough supplies during the Luzon lockdown, but causing an artificial shortage that a group of pharmaceutical and health-care companies is trying to fill.
The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) has appealed to the public to buy only what they need so that enough supplies can be allocated to vulnerable and at-risk people.
“The high demand for vitamins and specific medicines [has] resulted in an artificial medicine shortage,” PHAP said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We encourage [the public] not to overstock so that vulnerable [people] and at-risk groups are not left untreated. We are accelerating production and working hard to manage a good level of inventory,” it said.
The group said there were scheduled deliveries for most of these medicines, which it did not identify so as not to cause further alarm.
When asked about the medicines, PHAP executive director Teodoro Padilla said these were vitamins, maintenance medicines, and drugs used for the management of COVID-19 symptoms.
Padilla said shipments were coming in, as the group’s member companies were arranging supplies with their headquarters abroad. The plan is to immediately deliver the vitamins and maintenance medicines throughout the country once the shipments arrive.
“There are expected delays but they are coming in,” Padilla said.
Appeal to task force
PHAP recommended that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases open alternative routes or at least provide some support for the continued movement of essential medicines despite the lockdown.
“Once in ports, the immediate release of medicines is necessary because these are often urgently needed by patients in hospitals or by those who are taking medication at home,” the group said.
PHAP represents the research-based pharmaceutical and health-care sector. Its member companies include Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Mercury Drug and Watsons.
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