Medicine shortage as dealers remain closed

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu
Medicine shortage as dealers remain closed

May 15, 2015-

Bhagawati Dhakal of Gaushala has been looking for medicines for diabetes for the last four days but she cannot get it from local drug stores.

“The doctor has told me to take the medicine regularly. But pharmacists near my house have run out of stock, and they say it will take time for new stocks to arrive as wholesalers in the Chhetrapati area have not reopened for business after the recent aftershocks,” she said.

Similarly, Sabita Giri of Rukum who currently resides at Gyaneshwor has not been able to get Piyush water purifying solution from drug stores.

People in the Kathmandu valley have been confronted by a shortage of some essential drugs as most wholesalers pulled down their shutters after the earthquake and they still have not reopened.

Medicines for diarrhoea, gastric ailments and water purifying solutions are in short supply while available medicines and sanitation materials are being shipped to quake victims in the most severely affected areas.  

Salik Gautam, proprietor of Hridam Pharmacy at Ratopul, said, “My shop has been out of stock of Jeevanjal, a medicine for diarrhoea, and Piyush for the last few days, but most wholesalers are unreachable. Other wholesalers are unable to fulfil demand.”

He added that consumers had been facing a shortage of various drugs and water purifying solutions with relief workers focusing on water sanitation and hygiene in the quake-affected districts. At the same time, wholesalers remain closed.

“Although most retail shops are open, major distributors are still closed,” said Bimlesh Chaudhari of Quality Pharmacy at Jadibuti.

Distributors said that they were struggling to supply medicines as per demand due to a massive rise in orders following the recent quakes.

Uttam Nepal, director at the CRS Company, the sole distributor of Piyush water purifying solution in the Nepali market, said, “Demand has surged and we have not been able to distribute medicines in the required quantities in all the areas. As doctors are advising people to consume water only after purification, many people have started using water purifying solutions.”

According to him, they are presently supplying 10,000 bottles of Piyush daily in the country which is twice the normal demand. Nepal said that the shortage was also due to relief workers buying Piyush in large quantities.

Meanwhile, some volunteer organizations have been bottling Piyush voluntarily in association with the manufacturer considering the current crisis.

Sunil Acharya, coordinator of a non-government relief programme, said that they would be selling Piyush in the market besides distributing it to earthquake victims.

However, Rameshwor Shrestha, president of the Nepal Drug Traders Association, Bagmati Unit, claimed that there was no shortage of essential drugs.

“We have enough stocks to fulfil the demand of every pharmacy and hospital,” said Shrestha. “There might have been delays in distribution following the recent quakes, but there is no shortage.”


Published: 16-05-2015 11:21

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