Paracetamol supply scarcity in pharmacies, convenience stores


KUALA LUMPUR – Paracetamol, a drug commonly used to relieve fever and headaches, are reportedly in short supply and relatively difficult to find at community pharmacies and convenience stores in the capital as well as several other places.

According to a recent survey at community pharmacies, shelves displaying the drug, especially a leading trademark, were empty due to high demand during the recent rise in COVID-19 numbers.

The shortage is also believed to stem from increased purchases for reducing side effects such as fever, joint pain and headaches after receiving booster dose injections, according to some pharmacists contacted.

Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) president Amrahi Buang, who also confirmed the scarcity, said based on the information he received, paracetamol shortage, especially involving the leading trademark, did not only occur in the capital, but also in several other states.

He explained that the situation arose over the past few months due to relatively high purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic, apart from possible issues in the supply chain.

“I got information from my peers all over the country, this shortage has been going on for several months, and maybe this is happening at the manufacturing or distributor level.

“Because manufacturing depends on the ingredients or the packaging and logistics level, this will affect the availability of stock across the country,” he said.

Users on social media also expressed consternation over the matter, including Facebook user Josephine Joey who wrote: “Yesterday, noon to evening did not find paracetamol medicine, continue to search at pharmacies, grocery stores and supermarkets, not available, out of stock”.

Twitter user @fxizmiller tweeted: “Why so difficult to find this (paracetamol), I’ve looked high and low in Bangi, Petaling Jaya and Seremban when I returned to the hometown last week, all out of stock,” he said.

The scarcity also led consumers to find supplies through e-commerce applications.