SINGAPORE — Two more retail chains have imposed limits on purchases of popular painkiller brands, Panadol and Nurofen, following a spike in demand for the medicine in Singapore.
Following NTUC Fairprice’s announcement of its limit of four boxes of the two brands of medicine on Thursday (22 Dec), WATSON too implemented a limit of six boxes at its store.
When TOC’s local correspondent visited one of its stores, stocks for its Panadol drugs were out of stock. When asked, its staff said it is unknown when the stock will arrive.
TODAY also reported that the Guardian pharmacy chain will be limiting the purchases of the two brands of medicine to six boxes a customer with effect from Saturday.
TOC notes that the Guardian outlet in Raffles City had run out of its Panadol brand but still holds other generic brands.
DFI Retail Group, which manages Guardian, said in response to TODAY’s queries on Friday that this was because it is “currently experiencing high demand” for paracetamol and fever relief medication.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with suppliers to ensure a steady and sufficient supply of paracetamol and fever relief medication at Guardian.”
TOC observed that stores such as Cheers and 7-11 eleven have not imposed any limits on purchases of Panadol and still have ready stocks available.
Both Panadol and Nurofen are popular brand names for over-the-counter painkillers. Panadol contains paracetamol and Nurofen contains ibuprofen.
Shin Min Daily has also reported that some crossed the border to Malaysia to purchase medicine. One retailer noted that a traveller from Singapore offered to buy a whole box of Panadol.
Chinese nationals buying medicine in bulk to send back China
According to Lianhe Zaobao last Friday (16 Dec), Chinese nationals studying or working in Singapore were buying medicines to send back to China due to the spike in Covid-19 cases after the country ended its zero-covid policy and city-wide isolations.
A reporter from Lianhe Zaobao reported witnessing a long queue of people trying to send medicine via courier services in Chinatown.
The paper also noted that the parcel provided by the courier service can only deliver eight boxes of non-prescription drugs.
A courier service operator told the paper that antigen test kits and prescription drugs cannot be sent via courier. The delivery time would depend on various factors, such as the covid situation and customs inspection, which would take about two to four weeks or more.
The customers in the queue were preparing to send medicine back to China, with most sending over ten boxes. Medicines include Panadol Cough & Cold, Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang , cough syrup, and Vitamin C tablets.
When TOC visited Chinatown on Friday evening, the courier service company that was featured in Lianhe Zaobao’s report had already finished handing out its queue numbers for customers who wish to send medicine over to China.