On Tuesday, a pharmaceutical company confirmed that there is a shortage of some brand-name paracetamol drugs due to increased demand amid rising cases in the Philippines.

Unilab, the largest pharmaceutical company in the Philippines, said there is a shortage of pharmacy stock of its noted brands such as Bioflu, Neozep, Solmux, among others.

It said, “Some of our brands are temporarily out of stock in select drugstores due to extraordinary demand.” Unilab has assured that it is working double-time to boost the production as soon as possible.

Zuellig, another pharma company in the Philippines, also acknowledged that certain brands of paracetamol are temporarily unavailable in some areas due to the heightened vigilance against Omicron. In addition, people are getting sick due to other reasons, such as cold weather.

Jannette Jakosalem, Managing Director of Zuellig, said in a statement, “We urge the public to consult their doctors and pharmacists for appropriate alternatives if they are experiencing a temporary shortage of paracetamol in their localities.”

“We also call on them to buy only the needed number, and not overstock, because medicines have a limited shelf life or expiration date, and to consider other patients who may need them more,” she added.

Paracetamol is used to reduce fever and treat mild to moderate pain from headaches, menstrual periods, toothaches, backaches, osteoarthritis, or cold/flu aches and pains, according to WebMD.

On Monday, there were long lines outside pharmacies in some cities after people reported difficulty buying certain brands of paracetamol, according to CNN Philippines.

The Department of Health (DOH) Republic of the Philippines said Tuesday it approached major drugstores and local drugmakers after seeing an increased demand for OTC drugs used to treat fever and flu – the common symptoms of COVID-19.

Generika Drugstore’s President and CEO Josette Abarca also shared the same experience in their chains, stating that demand for “branded flu medicines was five times than usual.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and DOH said there is only a shortage of branded paracetamol, urging people to consider taking generic drugs.

The DOH said, “Paracetamol has many generic alternatives in the market, which are available in many drugstores nationwide.”

“There are other brands of paracetamol in the market so there is no shortage,” the DTI added.

Abarca assured people that Generika stores have enough supply of generic paracetamol, adding that they have the same efficacy as the branded ones. The news was published Tuesday on CNN Philippines.