THE Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) has confirmed that there is a scarcity of supply of basic medicines in the region, particularly in Cebu.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH 7 chief pathologist, acknowledged the issue of scarcity during her press briefing at the Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) on Friday, January 14, 2022.

“It is true that there is scarcity of supplies. Again, this is an issue on supply and demand,” said Loreche.

There has been an issue of scarcity of basic medicines since the threat of the Omicron variant emerged in the country.

“Yan po ang totoo. Meron tayong problema sa ating supplies ng basic na mga gamot para sa ubo at sa lagnat,” she added. (That’s the truth. We have a problem with our supplies of basic medicines for cough and fever.)

Loreche said there had been a meeting with pharmacy and drug store operators in Cebu along with representatives from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav), Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Visayas, and Project Balik Buhay (PBB) prior to her briefing.

She believes the problem is not experienced only in the region but nationwide, citing that all drug stores, big or small, expressed the same concern.

The chief pathologist emphasized that they are dependent on the deliveries from suppliers to replenish the stocks, particularly of paracetamol and cough medicines.

While the supply has not yet arrived, Loreche urged everyone to use whatever brand is available, stressing that generic medicines are as effective as those that are branded.

She also urged everyone to keep calm and not panic amid the lack of supply while she also asked everyone not to hoard the medicines for their personal consumption.

“Kami po ay nananawagan sa ating mga kababayan, mga Sugbuanon, huwag po tayong mag-panic. Huwag po tayong mag-hoard. Kaya po natin ito. Tulong-tulong po tayong lahat,” Loreche said. (We call on our fellow Filipinos, the Cebuanos, let’s not panic. Let’s not hoard. We can overcome this. Let’s all help one another.)

As an alternative, Loreche said people with flu can drink turmeric, ginger and lemon.

She also advised them to take vitamins and eat green leafy vegetables.

The DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier issued Joint Memorandum Circular 22-01 that enjoins retailers to limit the sales of 500 mg tablets of paracetamol to 20 per person or 60 per household only.

But Loreche said the national government should also issue an advisory to limit the purchase from people from other areas so that there may be distribution control.