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COVID-19 Cases Rises, Drug Shortages, Price Hikes Force Karen State Pharmacies to Close

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, pharmacies in Karen State are facing drug shortages since mid-July according to the local chemists.

Nan Khin Lin, a pharmacy shop owner in Hpa-an said people facing Covid-19’s third wave, are worried pharmacies would close, so they started hoarding medicine. Added to people’s concerns are that drugs companies have also stopped their distribution, creating shortages of medicine.

Speaking to Karen News, Nan Khin Lin said she was concerned by the effect both factors would have on supplies.

“A lot of medicine is running out. Drugs like antibiotic, paracetamol, multi-vitamins, especially vitamin C. Some people bought medicines that were not necessary. Some are not infected with the disease, but they started hoarding medicine, that is not good. We are having trouble ordering medicines because companies have closed.”

Pharmaceutical companies have suspended distribution of drugs due to rumors the military appointed State Administration Council had ordered the suspension of imports of Covid-19 prophylactic drugs and medical supplies on July 7.

Pharmacy owners told Karen News due to a shortage of some medicines required for treatment, private pharmacies and clinics in Karen State have now closed.

In addition to the increasing Covid-19 cases, many people are also currently suffering from seasonal flu due to the wet season. Families who suffered from the flu are receiving treatment only at their homes.

A resident of Kawkareik, who did not want to be named, said. “Pharmacies are now closed. We can only get out between 6am and 8am. Some medicine is difficult to buy and the price is very high. All you can do now is call a doctor you know to hopefully get treatment.”

Despite the shortage of medicines, Covid-19 infection and seasonal flu are on the rise, forcing private clinics in the state to close.

On July 18, the military council announced retailers of drugs and pharmaceuticals should remain open to ensure that there is no shortage of medicines and supplies for consumers.

According to the Military Council’s daily report of Covid-19 infection as of end of June, nearly 2,000 people have been infected with Covid-19 and 41 have died in Karen State. Local community groups refute the military council’s figures and say judging by the situation on the ground, numbers are likely to be much higher.

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