Panadol-mania: Queues form at Chinatown as shoppers snap up boxes of medicine to ship overseas, Singapore News

Panadol-mania: Queues form at Chinatown as shoppers snap up boxes of medicine to ship overseas, Singapore News

Scenes of maskless football fans revelling at the recently-concluded Fifa World Cup in Qatar – the world has truly opened up.

But over in China, its recent reopening is a solemn reminder that Covid-19 is still among us

This has led to some Chinese nationals residing in Singapore buying up boxes of medicine including paracetamol and queuing outside a courier service in Chinatown to ship them back home, Lianhe Zaobao reported on Dec 16.

Some of those waiting in line had packed 10 boxes of medicines and supplements such as Panadol Cough and Cold tablets, Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang, cough syrups and Vitamin C effervescent tablets. 

Speaking to the Chinese daily, a Chinese national surnamed Zhang shared that she is sending three parcels containing 18 boxes of Panadol and two bottles of cough syrup over to her parents in Beijing.

While her friends and family in China have yet to be tested positive for Covid-19, the 32-year-old student said that she is sending the medicine back home so they will have a peace of mind.

Adding that the shipping cost amounted to $32, she said: “You can’t buy Panadol in China now.

“Even though it will take a month for the parcel to get there, [my parents] can still use the medicine after Chinese New Year.”

No shortage of supply

While China has relaxed some Covid-19 restrictions – including the mass lockdowns and mandatory testing on Dec 7 – after public anger, the country is seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases recently.

Several hospitals there have become inundated, pharmacies emptied of medicines, while many people have gone into self-imposed lockdowns, Reuters reported.

Amidst the strong demand for Panadol and other medicine, there might be concerns that the same can be seen in supermarkets and pharmacies here.

A TikTok video shared by Pumpkinified on Dec 12 showed that shelves at a FairPrice outlet were cleared out of some medicine brands.

The TikTok user questioned: “Do you find it challenging to buy Panadol in NTUC?”


Do u find it challenging to buy Panadol in NTUC?

♬ 芭比q了 – 邓家忠

In the comments, netizens were equally frustrated with the difficulties of buying the medicine recently.


AsiaOne has contacted FairPrice for more information.

When AsiaOne called eight Guardian and Unity Pharmacy outlets, stocks are limited for either the “regular” Panadol tablets or the Cough and Cold variation.

While only one outlet has both Panadol variations, there is no need to panic – customers can still purchase them online.

Checks by AsiaOne on Guardian, Unity and Watsons’ websites also showed that there are still boxes of paracetamol available for sale.

MOH is monitoring the situation

In response to media queries, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that it is aware that retailers and retail pharmacies have seen increased demand for over-the-counter medicines to treat fever, cough and cold.

The ministry said that retailers and retail pharmacies carry a diverse range of brands for each type of medicine including generic medicines, which are just as effective as branded medicines.

And while these retailers have already placed additional orders, it may take a longer time to restock some brands. And if a preferred brand is currently unavailable, the public is advised to purchase an alternative brand, said MOH.

“We also advise the public to purchase medicines, particularly paediatric medication, in quantities that are sufficient only for their own consumption, in order to avoid wastage,” said a MOH spokesperson.

The ministry added that it is closely monitoring the situation and they are working with the retailers and retail pharmacies to ensure that these medicines are available to Singaporeans in need.

Demand for Covid-19-related products

Singapore had previously seen a rise in the demand for Covid-19-related products. 

Amidst the spike in infections in June this year, the Straits Times reported how sales of Lianhua Qingwen capsules, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) touted as a Covid-19 remedy, had soared by up to 10 times. 

There was also a slight increase in sales for ART kits, masks and vitamin C tablets in pharmacies then. 

But several sales staff at pharmacies and TCM shops shared that they had a healthy supply to cope with the rising demand.

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