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Shoppers in desperate hunt for paracetamol as chemists run out

by Millie Fornachon (2020-04-09)

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Desperate shoppers all over the UK are hunting for paracetamol with supermarkets and chemists facing running out of the painkiller by this weekend amid the coronavirus outbreak.

120px-LG%EC%A0%84%EC%9E%90%2C_%EC%8B%A0%Exports of the world's most popular painkiller, which the government is advising Brits to use to combat the symptoms of the killer virus, are being restricted by India while production in China dries up. 

Indian authorities fear a shortage of paracetamol in their own country and have restricted its export to the rest of the world, along with several other drugs. 

The nation leans on China for almost 70 per cent of the ingredients in its drugs, with the outbreak of the virus leading to significant supply issues. 

This has also affected the NHS and 할인 UK pharmacies, with India being one of the main suppliers of its generic drugs.

Now, UK firms are reporting shortages of the raw materials that make up the popular painkiller while Boots has already warned staff its warehouses only contain enough supply until the end of the week.  






Paracetamol is selling out in pharmacies and stores during the coronavirus outbreak in the UK


Shoppers were pictured queuing up outside chemists around Britain, with people in Reading adhering to social distancing rules as they waited. 

Several UK companies produce paracetamol to supply to businesses but rely on imported materials in from Asia. 

Aspar Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of pain relief medicines for chemists and supermarkets, including Tesco, is reported to have written to clients asking for around a 20 per cent increase in aspirin and paracetamol costs. 

Aspar told MailOnline that it was having trouble fulfilling orders as the price of raw materials for paracetamol is rising and supply of the products is drying up.    


















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Martin Sawer, executive director of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance said that there is 'plenty of paracetamol in the supply chain' but admitted that the demand for it had increased.

Unlike over-the-counter medicines, paracetamol 'is not price controlled' and therefore the cost has increased, he added.  

North East London Local Pharmaceutical Committee secretary Hemant Patel revealed that pharmacies were struggling to source smaller packs of paracetamol.

She said they are asking whether they can instead break up packs of 100. 

Contractor Olivier Picard said that his business had sold 200 paracetamol packets in just over a day and had run out of packets of paracetamol that did not require a prescription.  

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'There are no shortages of paracetamol in the NHS.

'The UK is well prepared to deal with any impacts of the coronavirus outbreak and we have central stockpiles of commonly used drugs like paracetamol.

'The Department is working closely with manufacturers, suppliers, the NHS and others to ensure patients can access the medicines they need and that export restrictions in other countries have limited impact on the UK.'






People in Emmer Green shopping precinct adhere to the social distancing rule when queueing for the chemist







Signs posted to a door of a local pharmacy in Leigh-on-sea state 'We have toilet rolls and Paracetamol in stock'














Earlier this week, it advised people to use the painkiller instead of ibuprofen, admitting it did not yet know whether ibuprofen worsened the impact of Covid-19.

By Saturday, Boots expects to have run out of paracetamol and has introduced measure to ration how much customers can buy. 

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