Visakhapatnam

Transport delays, panic buying hit availability of medicines in Vizag

People crowding a medical store at Maharanipeta in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

People crowding a medical store at Maharanipeta in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.  

Retailers say they are not getting the supplies on a regular basis

Notwithstanding the slew of measures initiated by the authorities to ensure adequate supply of essential drugs, citizens complain that they are unable to get some medicines for diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle disorders.

People are seen standing in queues, while maintaining social distance, at the drug stores in the city during the lockdown relaxation hours.

“All waiting in the queues are not lucky. For some prescribed medicines, I have to visit several stores since the lockdown began,” rued a man standing at a medicine store at Maharanipeta on Thursday.

Meanwhile, retailers claim that they are not getting the supplies regularly from the wholesalers in view of the transportation problems due to the lockdown.

Lockdown blues

“Though there is no dearth in the supply of drugs from the manufacturers to the wholesalers, the lockdown has seen a surge in the demand. People resort to panic buying and stock their supplies for three to six months. Apart from this, problems in transportation is also resulting in delay in the supply,” said a retail medicine store requesting anonymity.

Some big drug store chains are also running out of stock of essential drugs every now and then.

Some big chains are also not accepting online orders even as they have stopped or reduced the discounts on purchases, said a consumer.

“Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug being used to treat the COVID-19 patients, is also prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients. Now, the shortage of the medicine is a cause of concern,” said T. Kameswara Rao, general secretary of Praja Arogya Vedika (PAV).

What the officials say

However, the authorities said that there was no shortage in the supply or distribution of drugs.

“There could, however, be delays in procurement at the retailer level. We have issued a limited number of passes to delivery boys as allowing all employees of the medical stores to deliver drugs will defeat the purpose of the lockdown,” said K. Rajitha, Assistant Director, Drugs Control Administration, when the issue was brought to her notice on Thursday.

Luckily, the medical equipment and drugs are being handled at Visakhapatnam international airport, the only airport in Andhra Pradesh operating exclusive cargo flights, six days a week, said Vizag airport Director M. Raja Kishore.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 6:34:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/transport-delays-panic-buying-hit-availability-of-medicines-in-vizag/article31360238.ece

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