Panic Buying Leading To Shortage Of Covid Test Kits

Self-test kit stocks are likely to return to normal in a few weeks, according to pharmacy chains and retailers in the Klang Valley.


Panic Buying Leading To Shortage Of Covid Test Kits

Pharmacists continue to feel the pressure despite assurances from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs that there is a sufficient supply of Covid-19 self-test kits on the market.

Self-test kit stocks are likely to return to normal in a few weeks, according to pharmacy chains and retailers in the Klang Valley.

The chain of Caring Pharmacy Retail Management Sdn Bhd is suffering a scarcity, according to Foo Fung Jiun, the company's head of procurement, health, beauty, and own brands, who told The Star.

“Our stock is running low due to the panic buying last week. Stock is coming in by batches in the next one to three weeks,” he said. He also mentioned that the scarcity might be a result of business owners purchasing the kits in bulk for their staff.

As demand for the home kit surged, he said that some providers took advantage by boosting prices by 10% to 15%.

“We have had suppliers increasing prices since last week, claiming supply is limited,” Foo added.

source - packaging digest

Additionally, inspections of pharmacies in Kuala Lumpur and Subang Jaya revealed a disruption in the supply chain.

“The last two weeks, our pharmacy was supposed to receive new shipments of self-test kits, but it’s been delayed until today,” said Ismawati Ismail, staff at the AA Pharmacy branch in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, who told The Star.

She said that the only brands remaining on the shelf were those that cost RM9.90.

“Customers who buy in bulk prefer to get the cheaper brands that cost RM4.90 per box, but these have been sold out and haven’t been restocked in the past few weeks,” she added.

While the quantity of kits in the shop is enough, a pharmacist at the Well Love Pharmacy in Taman Desa confirmed that there is actually a disruption in supply owing to logistical concerns.

“We were told that the supply is disrupted because there is congestion in Port Klang,” she said.

A lady identified simply as Emily, who works at Health Lane Family Pharmacy, said that panic purchasing is occurring.

“A lot of customers are stocking up – even though stocks are still available, demand is moving very fast, and the supply has to chase that demand,” she said that her pharmacy's supply is expected to stabilise only by mid-March.

Suzane, a pharmacist in Subang Jaya, claimed that since Chinese New Year, there has been a scarcity of self-test kits.

“During those two weeks, we really couldn’t find supplies and we had to sell whatever stock we had in our pharmacy,” she added.

Amrahi Buang, president of the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS), stated the supply situation in pharmacies has improved in comparison to last week.

“The MPS is glad to finally hear a response from the ministry,” he added.

Amrahi also addressed the problem of self-test kit quality, noting that the public has reported cases of false positives and negatives.

“This will affect follow-up actions to curb the Omicron wave. We have to wait for the Medical Devices Authority (MDA) for its response to this,” he added.

Source – The Star

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