Coronavirus sparks medication panic-buying

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Pharmacy medication flying off the shelves amid Covid-19 panic buying.

Natalie Escobar

The number of Coronavirus cases are increasing every day, and despite calls for calm, people are panic buying – a trend that is now hitting chemists.

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, items like toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, canned food, minced meat, pasta, rice, flour and hand sanitiser were being stripped from shop shelves.

It forced supermarkets to enforce limits on items.

The panic buying also includes medicine, whether both prescription and over-the-counter. There have been shortages in medications such as Ventolin and even Panadol.

Experts say as with food and toilet paper, stockpiling medicine is due to fear surrounding the Coronavirus.

“We’re seeing stock shortages, we really shouldn’t be but we’re going to see them if people don’t stop panic buying,” says Matthew Tweedie, WA Director of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

“I think anyone’s affected, anyone who needs a lifesaving medication, young, old, middle age doesn’t matter everyone is impacted if they can’t get what they need,” says Mr Tweedie.

Even during a lockdown, Mr Tweedie says pharmacies will stay open.

“I think the pharmacies have to be open, it’s a health service that needs to be open.”

“One of the worst affected countries in the world is Italy and they have grocery stores and pharmacies opened because at the end of the day you have to have access to medication,” says Mr Tweedie.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia plans to meet with health authorities to figure out how to handle the situation.