Local medicine producer United Laboratories (Unilab) has denied rumors that they are hoarding stocks to increase the prices of its carried paracetamol brands, causing its temporary scarcity in major drugstores in Metro Manila.
Social media posts of netizens said they still cannot avail known paracetamol brands in drug stores in various parts of Metro Manila, insinuating that its manufacturer is withholding its stocks to increase its costs.
“We refer to rumors circulating that Unilab is withholding stocks and increasing the prices of Biogesic, Bioflu, Neozep, Solmux, and Decolgen, which already caused the out-of-stock situation in drugstores. The rumor, according to the pharmaceutical firm is not true. Unilab has not increased the prices of these brands.
Moreover, Unilab said the temporary out-of-stock situation in certain drugstores is due to the extraordinarily high demand for products for fever, cough, colds, and flu in certain areas of the country.
“We continue to manufacture and have, in fact, increased the manufacturing volume of these products to serve the extraordinary demand,” Unilab posted in its official Facebook page.
With this, Unilab has urged the public to stop relying upon and passing on false news in order not to cause panic and anxiety.
“We will post from time to time, relevant information through our social media channels,” the statement said.
Last week, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has assured the public that there is no shortage of over-the-counter paracetamol brands, and the reason behind its temporary out of stock situation was the temporary tight supply from its manufacturers due to the timing of deliveries to replenish the stocks in the branches of major drugstores such as Mercury Drug, Watson’s and SouthStar stores.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez even said that he was promised by these drugstores to assure enough stocks to serve the public that has been storming the abovementioned drug stores to secure medicines used as an immediate remedy for flu, common colds, and fever, amid the surging cases of Covid-19 Omicron variant.
While effective 10 January, the Department of Health (DoH) and DTI has released a Joint Memorandum Circular imposing purchase limit on medicines such as paracetamol, phenylephrine hydrochloride, carbocisteine, and chlorphenamine maleate paracetamol.
Purchase per individual of 500 milligrams (mg) paracetamol should be 20 tablets per individual, and 60 pcs per household.
For paracetamol suspension or liquid form, only five bottles and 20 bottles were allowed per person for every 120 mg/5 mL, 60 mL suspension, and 250 mg/5 mL and 60 mL.
For phenylephrine hydrochloride and chlorphenamine maleate paracetamol suspension, five and 10 bottles are allowed to purchase by an individual for its 2.5 mg/500 mcg, 125 mg per 5 mL; while for its tablet form of 2mg, 5 mg, and 500 mg, only 20 and 60 tablets are allowed to be given to individuals and per household, respectively.
While for carbocisteine 500 mg capsule, 20 pcs are allowed to be purchased by an individual, and 60 per household; 500 mg/5mL, 60 mL (suspension) five bottles per individual and 10 per household purchase; and for 200 mg/ 5mL, 60 mL suspension, only five and 10 bottles are allowed per individual and household, respectively.
Violators shall be held liable under the pertinent and applicable provisions under the Price Act, Consumer Act of the Philippines, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations, and will be deemed effective until the DoH declares the supply stability of the subject medicines.