MANILA— A pharmaceutical group on Saturday told the public not to hoard over-the-counter medicines after some drugstores reported a shortage in flu drugs earlier this week, prompting others to panic buy.
In a public briefing, Janette Jakosalem, vice president of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), said hoarding medicines is detrimental to those people who really need it.
Jakosalem emphasized the fact that medicines also expire.
"Yung compassion po para doon sa iba nating kababayan na mas nangangailangan ng gamot, 'yun 'yung isipin natin. Pangalawa, may expiration date 'yung mga gamot natin, hindi po 'yan nagla-last nang matagal, sayang naman kung hindi ninyo mainom 'yung gamot," she explained.
(It is also about the compassion for others who are in need of it. There is also an expiration date for such drugs, they cannot stay in shelves for so long. It is a waste if you will not be able to take them.)
"Kung sobra-sobra 'yung binibili, sobra mag-expire at sayang din 'yung pera. Sayang 'yung opportunity na hindi 'yan nainom ng mas nangangailangan," she added.
(If you buy too many, they can just expire and your money will also be wasted. There are people who need them more.)
She added that pharmacists and doctors could recommend other brand of medicines when the stock of what they prefer runs out.
Video courtesy of PTV
Consultation with doctors will also help, as these medical professionals could also suggest the right medicine for patients.
"Kung [wala] 'yung brand na kinasasanayan, puwedeng magkonsulta sa pharmacist, puwede siyang magbigay ng suggestion kung anong ibang brand ang available," she added.
(If your preferred brand is out of stock, you can consult with the pharmacist. They can suggest what other brands are available.)
Meanwhile, she said her group has yet to receive any evidence that people are selling fake medicine amid reports.
Jakosalem said her group is currently monitoring the situation on the ground and is prepared to report these peddlers to authorities.
"Kami po sinisigurado namin na 'yung gamot na dini-distribute dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po fake 'yun. Ang advise namin, bumili lang po sa licensed drugstore, 'wag pong bumili sa black market, minsan sa online, mayroon ding napepeke," she said.
(We make sure that what we are distributing in the country are original. Our advise is for the public to buy in a licensed drugstore and not in the black market. Sometimes online, people are also fooled.)
PHAP also said they help "replenish" the drugstore's stocks when they run low. The current demand is just too high, she noted.
Jakosalem earlier said that the shortage could be "artificial in nature."
"Ongoing 'yung replenishment pero kapag biglang taas 'yung bili, 'yung requirement ng gamot, minsan hindi maiiwasan na mauubusan ng stock sa botika."
The Department of Health earlier this week said there is no shortage of paracetamol and similar drugs for flu, and it urged the public to avoid panic buying.