COVID-19 Warnings: First It Was Mask And Hand Sanitizers, Then Ventilators And PPEs, Next Will Be Acute Drugs And Pharmaceuticals Shortages
: When, the COVID-19 crisis first broke out in China and subsequently in other parts of Asia, protective face mask and hand sanitizers became sought after commodities, creating an acute shortage and prices to escalate coupled with creating a nightmare for various governments.
Then as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, health authorities and doctors realized that ventilators and also PPEs (personal protective equipment) were also in short supply and that many governments starting sourcing for supplies frantically and also started to ramp up production of local manufacturers.
However, what is coming and already being seen in many countries is a looming shortage of drugs and pharmaceuticals of all kinds. This shortage is going to have a massive repercussion of the healthcare sectors worldwide.
Already prior to the COVID-19 crisis, there was already a growing global shortage of many drugs due to increase in demand coupled with problems in manufacturing and supply chains. The trade wars and also protective policies of certain countries also contributed indirectly to this growing problem.
However, the COVID-19 crisis was the main trigger point that lead to raw materials and also production being affected badly and to make matters worse, the lockdowns and increased demand had also contributed to the growing dire situation that many health authorities are not willing to face up to.
If a country like India that manufactures almost 27 percent of the global drugs is by itself starting to see a shortage of drugs like basic statins, diabetes medications, antibiotics and even NSAIDS, it is a growing indication that the situation is about to get worse.
Already there has been warnings issued that even drugs for chronic diseases such as cancer, HIV and heart disease are becoming more scarce.
Manufacturing had been disrupted and also raw materials procurement has been affected.
China and Russia which is also a major suppliers of raw materials for drug production had their capacities disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic but with both countries now enforcing protective policies and cutting down on exports, many countries involved in drug production are being affected.
The drug problem in the United States and Europe is even more acute with majority of antibiotics, antivirals and even diabetes medications in extreme short supply.
Insulin is becoming a scarce product in the United States with prices escalating.
Blood thinners and anticoagulants are also becoming a rare commodity.
Sedatives and painkillers in some states in the US have almost run out.
For the common Americans and Europeans, they cannot even access common OTC NSAIDS like paracetamol.
It is not just the drug and pharmaceuticals segment are in crisis but even the dietary and nutritional supplements and also herb sectors are being affected due to production disruption and also shortage of raw materials.
Prices of certain many supplements and herbal products have skyrocketed ever since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thailand Medical news advises all readers especially the elderly with chronic health problems and needing regular medications to start stockpiling for at least 6 months to a year’s supplies and the same goes for ordinary drugs if you have access to them such as NSAIDS and even basic such as eye drops, wound cleaners such as hydrogen peroxide etc.
Ignore authorities’ assurances that there is adequate supplies as the reality is not the case. Especially when the second wave (we at TMN call it the first wave as the initial phase was just a dry run) of the COVId-19 crisis arrives, it is going to be much worse. We are not here to instill fears or create anxiety or panic among viewers but rather for all to be better prepared.
Do not immediately go out on panic buying sprees. Rather sit down and write down a list of all your medications and also other basic drugs that you might need, check on the shelf life and expiry dates of these drugs and gradually start buying and stockpiling for your own usage and to have enough stocks that can last 6 to 12 months. Also always remember to help the less fortunate and if you know of any neighbors or friends who might have problems procuring their necessary medications, try to help as well.
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