MANILA - Ayala Group’s health unit on Tuesday said maintaining supplies for its pharmacy chain has been “challenging” as the COVID-19 crisis led to a “tremendous increase” in demand disinfectant alcohol, protective masks, gloves, vitamins and other medicines.
Paolo Borromeo, head of corporate strategy of the Ayala Group, said demand for COVID-19 related items in AC Health’s Generika chain of drugstores increased 13 times since the start of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and Luzon.
“This increase in demand is something we've never seen before,” Borromeo said in an interview with ANC.
Demand for maintenance medicines also increased 40 percent since the lockdown. AC Health sees this level of demand continuing even beyond the quarantine period, Borromeo said.
“Of course, supply levels and operations on the backend have been quite challenging, if you can imagine,” he added.
Despite this, about 720 Generika stores, or 90 percent of the chain’s number of outlets, remain open throughout the country.
Borromeo added that 60 to 70 percent of AC Health’s clinics under the FamilyDOC and Healthway brands remain open, as several clinics were closed due to “logistical issues”.
But for individuals at high risk for COVID-19, Borromeo recommends using AC Health’s app AIDE, which allows users to book doctors and other health professionals who can do home consultations.
He added that preference for online channels to avail of services will become part of the “new normal” after the COVID-19 crisis.