COVID-19

‘Basic ‘yun’: Robredo asks gov’t to work with pharmacies to fix paracetamol shortage

Mara Cepeda
‘Basic ‘yun’: Robredo asks gov’t to work with pharmacies to fix paracetamol shortage

WORKING VP. Presidential aspirant and Vice President Leni Robredo meets with leaders of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches on December 16, 2021.

Jay Ganzon/OVP

VP Leni Robredo says despite the government's denial, many Filipinos line up at drugstores but go home empty-handed

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President and now presidential aspirant Leni Robredo said instead of denying there is a shortage of paracetamol in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government must work with pharmacies and drug companies to make sure Filipinos would have access to the medicines they need.

Robredo made the call in her weekly radio show in DZXL on Sunday, January 9, as Filipinos report on social media that medicines for flu-like symptoms, such as paracetamol, are already out of stock in drug stores.

As the country grapples with a steep surge in coronavirus cases, people have been lining up in pharmacies to buy the medicines, but many go home empty-handed.

“Basic ‘yun na dapat available, na dapat ‘yung pamahalaan, nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga pharmacies tsaka mga drugstore owners, mga drug companies kung papaano mape-prevent itong pagkukulang na ‘to,” Robredo said.

(It’s basic to have these medicines available, it’s basic for the government to coordinate with pharmacies, drugstore owners, and drug companies to prevent this shortage.)

She then hit the Department of Health for insisting there is “no ongoing shortage” of paracetamol and other medicines for flu-like symptoms despite more and more complaints from Filipinos online. 

“Kahit mag-statement tayo na ‘di totoo nagkakaubusan, siyempre experiential ‘yun eh, ‘yung mga taong bibili na walang mabili (Even if we release statements saying there’s no shortage, of course the issues is experiential for people who go out to buy the medicines but have nothing to purchase.),” Robredo said. 

The Vice President shared several people who have been availing of her office’s free teleconsultation initiative Bayanihan E-Konsulta have been thanking them for sending over COVID-19 Care Kits that contain flu medicines.

Pharmaceutical company Unilab said some of its brands are “temporarily out of stock” in select drugstores due to “extraordinary demand.”

The Philippines is now seeing a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. On Saturday, January 8, the country recorded 26,458 new COVID-19 infections – the highest-ever number of cases tallied in a single day since the pandemic began in March 2020. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.