Pharmacies running CRITICALLY low on key drugs including paracetamol due to coronavirus – The Sun

BRITISH Pharmacies are currently running critically low of key drugs such as paracetamol as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

High Street chain Boots warned staff on Thursday its warehouses only contain enough supply for another “1.3 weeks” and stocks will be exhausted by the end of trading next week.

By Saturday March 28, the pharmacy giant expects to have run out of the painkiller Paracetamol completely – sparking panic for people who need it.

In an urgent memo to staff – leaked to The Sun on Sunday – Boots also announced draconian measures to limit the sale of all products “containing Paracetamol”, in each of its 2,500 stores, to just ONE per person.

Halving the industry standard policy of two Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin products per customer transaction.

The company told staff the decision has been made in order to: “Help us support as many customers as possible.”

UK pharmacies have been placing large orders with pharmaceutical wholesalers to replace stock amid panic buying, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The memo warns staff at retail outlets: “Our availability on lines which are being driven by Coronavirus is changing daily.

“Whilst we are continuing to try and secure more stock from suppliers there are lines which are now OOS (Out Of Stock) or with very low forward weeks cover and you may not receive further deliveries for a period of time.”

A source said: “It’s a worrying situation.

“The pressure on firms like Boots at this time is immense. People have been panic buying Paracetamol and now the impact of that is kicking in.”

It is illegal to sell more than 100 tablets or capsules of either paracetamol or aspirin in any one retail transaction, and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidelines limit sale to two packets per transaction.

The Paracetamol crisis comes after the government’s chief science officer urged the public to avoid ibuprofen to treat Coronavirus.

The comments from Sir Patrick Vallance were made earlier this week (Tuesday, 17) as he updated MPs on the UK’s approach to tackling the disease.

Vallance, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor, told MPs that amid some uncertainty about its impact: “The sensible thing at the moment would be to avoid ibuprofen in cases of people who have coronavirus.”

A spokesman for Boots said: “We have seen an increase in customers looking to buy paracetamol in our stores, and we’re sorry if there may have been limited occasions where we have sold out. We have been working closely with all of our suppliers and have more stock arriving in stores every day.

“To ensure we can support as many people as possible, there is currently a limit of two units per customer on hand sanitisers, soap and hand wash, pain relief products, cough and cold, all children’s medicines, thermometers, tissues and hand wipes, baby milks, baby sterilising and antibacterial products, and hand creams.

“There is also a limit of one unit per customer for products containing paracetamol.”

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