Senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Acting on the reported shortage of over-the-counter medicines, particularly paracetamol and other similar medicines for flu and influenza, Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (PROMDI) Senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao called on pharmaceutical companies and drug firms to ensure ample supplies and help in stabilizing prices of much-needed medicines amid the surge of new and active cases of Covid-19 allegedly driven by new variant Omicron.
Prior to the incumbent senator’s appeal, pharma group Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) gave assurances to the public and consumers that there would be no price hike for over-the-counter medicines amid the increase in the demand for paracetamol and other drugs for flu-like symptoms.
“We can assure you that for the members of PHAP (Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines), we will not be increasing prices on account of the current situation,” PHAP vice president Jannette Jakosalem disclosed in a recent television interview.
“It’s already been tested during the time of Covid-19. Our organization is composed of very highly ethical members,” Jakosalem added.
Based on reports since Monday afternoon, many people buying paracetamol and other medicines for flu have been flocking drugstores in Metro Manila and other parts of the country amid an increase in daily Covid-19 cases and there are incidents that drugs stores have posted no stocks of many medicines.
Jakosalem, who also serves as Zuellig Pharma managing director, said that the alleged shortage in the supply of paracetamol was due to the strong sense of patronage of Filipinos to certain brands even as he revealed that based on observation, the shortage is actually an out-of-stock situation in certain areas with specific branches of drugstores and of specific brands.
“Filipinos prefer or are used to certain brands of medicines that they have been buying and that is where the shortage is happening,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DoH) has already denied that there is an ongoing shortage of paracetamol and similar drugs for flu but this has yet to be confirmed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In reaction to these developments, Pacquiao reminded the authorities that they should be mindful of the situation and should act accordingly when it came to matters of health.
“Kailangang kumilos agad ang ating mga health official at gayun din ang DTI kahit wala pa ngang shortage dahil hindi puwedeng ipagaliban ng sinuman kung kinakailangang uminom ng gamot dahil sa halip na bumaling e baka lumalala ang kanilang sakit,” the People’s Champ concluded. (ai/mtvn)