Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Hongkongers urged to avoid panic buying, as pain-relief drugs snapped up

Hongkongers urged to avoid panic buying, as pain-relief drugs snapped up

Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau asks public to remain calm, while offering reassurances Hospital Authority has enough reserves to meet demand.

Hong Kong’s health chief has urged the public not to stockpile cold medicines and painkillers after a wave of panic buying emerged amid rising Covid-19 infections in the city and in mainland China.

Some Hongkongers have been snapping up fever and pain-relief drugs for their relatives and friends over the border, which has caused shortages at pharmacies, according to the representatives of the sector.

Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau on Sunday said authorities would secure sufficient supplies of such drugs and asked people to refrain from contributing to the panic buying.

“The Department of Health and the government will ensure the supply of these medications, especially in the public healthcare system. The Hospital Authority has enough reserves [of the drugs] to address the demand,” he said. “We urge residents not to stockpile these drugs and not to overreact.”

Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau has asked residents not to stockpile pain-relief medication.

The mainland has gradually moved away from its “zero-Covid” strategy by lifting lockdowns, ending mass testing and reopening public venues across key provinces.

Authorities last Wednesday further relaxed controls by allowing home quarantine for mild and asymptomatic cases. But infections are rising, and public health experts have warned of an inevitable surge in infections as restrictions are loosened.

Hong Kong has also been dealing with an increasing number of Covid-19 cases, which have hovered around the 10,000 mark for the past four days, while health authorities have warned peak flu season is approaching.

Lau Oi-kwok, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Pharmacy, said some small pharmacies had sold out of Panadol, while little stock remained of the capsule-based traditional Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen.

“Many people are buying these drugs to have in reserve. They might not actually be sick,” he said. “Some people who are going to visit the mainland are also bringing the drugs there.”

Lau said Hong Kong distributors might be able to reorder and replenish stocks in one to two weeks at the earliest, and also called on the public to stop hoarding medicine.

Panadol was not available through online stores for chain pharmacies Watsons and Mannings or supermarket ParknShop. The pills contain paracetamol and can be used to treat fever and relieve pain.

A visit by the Post found no Panadol pills left on the shelves at Mannings in Lohas Park.

A staff member at another pharmacy in Tseung Kwan O, who gave only the surname Chu, told the Post that people had bought Panadol in larger quantities than usual on Sunday morning.

“Everyone came in buying at least three packs. Some even bought six to eight packs. We only have a few packs of normal Panadol tablets left. We have no idea when the next batch of stocks will come,” Chu said.

He added that some customers had bought ibuprofen tablets instead.

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can be used to treat fever and inflammation.

The city faced a Panadol shortage in February amid fears of a large-scale lockdown for universal coronavirus testing.

The drug flew off the shelves after health expert Dr Yuen Kwok-yung recommended Covid-19 patients who were not seriously ill should stay home and recover by “drinking more water and taking Panadol”.

Several chemists, supermarkets and convenience stores visited by the Post at the time had sold out of the pills.

An employee at a Mannings outlet in Wan Chai said at the time Panadol had been out of stock for more than a week and pharmacy operators were unable to say when more supplies would be available.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China