SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised members of the public to purchase medicines - particularly paediatric medication - in quantities that are sufficient only for their own consumption.
This is to avoid wastage, the ministry said on Wednesday (Dec 21) in response to media queries on the stock situation of over-the-counter medicines in retail pharmacies.
It added that it is aware that retailers and retail pharmacies have seen increased demand for over-the-counter medicines to treat fever, cough and cold.
"In general, retailers and retail pharmacies carry a diverse range of brands for each type of medicine including generic medicines, which are just as effective as branded medicines," said MOH.
"While they have already placed additional orders, it may take a longer time to restock some brands."
The ministry advised members of the public to purchase an alternative brand if a preferred brand is currently unavailable.
"MOH is closely monitoring the situation," it said.
"We are working with the retailers and retail pharmacies to ensure that these medicines are available to Singaporeans in need."
Watsons said in response to CNA queries on Wednesday that it has been closely monitoring the demand and distribution of these products to ensure a healthy supply of stock.
"We have observed recent spikes in demand for flu, cough and COVID-related products coming from both locals and overseas alike," said Watsons Head of Marketing, Lai Mei Ling.
"At the moment, we have set a limit of maximum six units per customer on Panadol products," she added.
Chinese nationals in Singapore have been queueing to send flu medicines back home to relatives amid surging COVID-19 cases in China and reports of drug shortages.
Stock levels were reportedly low across pharmacies at People's Park Complex and Chinatown Point on Wednesday, with staff members telling CNA they had observed many Chinese people buying Panadol in recent days.
Some courier companies in Singapore have had to limit the number of customers sending medical supplies to China, or the amount of medicine boxes to be sent by courier to one address.
China eased nationwide COVID-19 restrictions on Dec 7, scrapping the need for frequent mass testing, and introducing home quarantine for some patients as well as shorter and more precise lockdowns.
China's top health body has said the true scale of COVID-19 infections in the country is now "impossible" to track, with officials warning cases were rising rapidly in Beijing after the government abandoned its zero-COVID policy.
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