MOH working with retailers to ensure supply of cold, flu medicines amid higher demand

A file image of over-the-counter medicines to treat fever, cough and cold. MOH said it may take a longer time to restock some brands. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE – Additional orders have been placed for over-the-counter medicines to treat fever, cough and cold amid a spike in demand for these medications.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday said it may take a longer time to restock some brands, but added that the public should also consider an alternative brand.

“We also advise the public to purchase medicines, particularly paediatric medication, in quantities that are sufficient only for their own consumption, in order to avoid wastage,” the ministry added.

MOH said it is aware that retailers and retail pharmacies “have seen increased demand for over-the-counter medicines”, adding that it is monitoring the situation closely.

In general, these retailers carry a diverse range of brands for each type of medicine, said the ministry. It added that this includes generic medicines, “which are just as effective as branded medicines”.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported last Friday that Chinese nationals here were seen lining up at local couriers to send medical supplies back home amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in China, which has led to drug stores there running out of supplies.

Checks on health and beauty shop Watsons’ online store on Wednesday night showed that certain types of cold medication, such as Panadol Cold Relief PE Caplets, were sold out, but the chain was still selling the brand’s Cough and Cold Caplets, among others. 

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Watsons said it has observed recent spikes in demand for Covid-19-related products from both local buyers and foreigners living here.

It added that it has been monitoring the demand and distribution of these products closely, “to ensure a reliable supply and healthy stock holding as much we can”.

  • Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah

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