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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 05, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 2 days, 10 hours, 56 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: South Korea In Denial About Rise Of COVID-19 Infections. Blames Rising Hospitalizations and Drug Shortages On Influenza!

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COVID-19 News: South Korea In Denial About Rise Of COVID-19 Infections. Blames Rising Hospitalizations and Drug Shortages On Influenza!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 05, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 2 days, 10 hours, 56 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: Amidst rising hospitalizations, shortage of ‘cold medicines’ at pharmacies and the presence of more sick people among its general population, South Korean health authorities are refusing to acknowledge that COVID-19 is behind the manifestations and are instead blaming influenza as being the cause.

In fact, there is literally no or merely minimal COVID-19 testing in the country and worse, genomic surveillance is literally non-existential!
Since August last year, South Korean authorities had stopped all free COVID-19 testing and I recent weeks all COVID-19 testing centers have closed.
South Korea is in fact in the midst of downgrading its COVID-19 alert status.
Local COVID-19 News reports show that there is at the moment an acute shortage of cold medicines in pharmacies across the country. Over the counter NSAIDs, cough meds, painkiller and anti-diarrhea meds are all in short supply since a month ago.
However, the situation has not changed in South Korea at the moment. A latest news report by the The Korea Times shows that cold drugs continue to be in short supply as cases of respiratory infections continue to rise in the country.
On Thursday, The Korea Pharmaceutical Information Service reported that several flu medicines and fever reducers, including Tamiflu capsules and Tylenol tabs for children and adults, are listed as medicines of unstable supply and demand.
Meanwhile the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s latest report of surveillance statistics of infectious diseases claims that the country saw 54.1 cases of influenza-like illness in every 1,000 outpatients between Dec. 10 and 16.
The figure fell slightly from the previous week’s 61.3 patients per 1,000 outpatients, which marked a record high since 2019.
Local hospital and clinics are however facing a deluge of sick patients but current protocols are such that all patients are being treated for flu with no COVID-19 testing done!
The Korean health authorities are also refusing to divulge any data about COVID-19 infections or about excess mortality deaths in the last 3 months.
Amidst the nationwide respiratory infections outbreak, patients are facing challenges in accessing both prescription and over-the-counter medications in pharmacies. A pharmacist from central Seoul, speaking anonymously, revealed the depl etion of supplies for prescription influenza medicines, particularly children's fever reducers. The shortage extends to popular over-the-counter cold medications like Theraflu.
Another pharmacist, also preferring anonymity, disclosed the limited daily allocation of six boxes of nighttime and daytime Theraflu, which quickly sell out. The instability in the supply of prescription drugs is attributed to global shortages and import suspensions, exacerbating the situation.
This drug scarcity coincides with a surge in influenza cases during South Korea’s first winter without mask mandates since the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts attribute the outbreak to diminished immunity against respiratory diseases, as mask-wearing and social distancing measures kept people isolated from influenza and cold viruses for nearly four years.
In response to the crisis, health authorities established a public-private consultative group to address pharmaceutical supply and demand issues. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, in consultation with medical experts, decided to request pharmaceutical manufacturers to boost production and consider raising drug prices to stabilize the market.
Despite these efforts, some pharmacists are urging the government to take more robust measures. They emphasize the importance of continuous monitoring of manufacturers' reports on production discontinuations and supply delays to maintain a clear understanding of essential drug supply. Additionally, there is a call for greater transparency in communicating the government's progress in tackling the ongoing drug shortage, with any suspension of drug supply to be disclosed through the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, according to Lee Dong-geun, the leader of a civic group advocating for a healthy society.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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