KUALA LUMPUR: There are no actual statistics on the Omicron variant causing a shortage of paracetamol in the market, a drug commonly used to relieve fever and headache.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Koh Kar Chai in a statement today said that while it is true there is an irregularity in the supply of paracetamol in the country, there is no actual shortage.
“Leading brands sell out faster in pharmacies and convenient stores and this is where a shortage is seen.
“Without actual statistics, it is not known if Omicron infection is the direct cause of it.”
Koh explained that the high rate of vaccination may have caused more people to take paracetamol for common mild side effects like fever or body aches.
“As for increased usage due to the Omicron variant, we know that most cases are either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
“It could be that some are just purchasing it in case they become unwell,” he said.
Koh also advised those who are allergic to the Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) which includes aspirin and other pain killers, that the only choice of fever medicine will be paracetamol.
“They will have to depend on sponging or baths to bring down a high fever if needed.
“A word of caution to using NSAIDs for fever. Only use it upon consultation with your doctor as it comes with a host of complications if used incorrectly,” he said.
Earlier today, Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) president Amrahi Buang said the issue of a supply shortage only involved one brand that produces the drug.
Although some may link the Omicron variant cases with the need to stock up on paracetamol, apparently the cases of shortages in supply had only involved one brand of the drug.
He said other brands of the drug and the generic form of paracetamol could still be found on the shelves of pharmacies and shops.
Yesterday, Bernama reported that community pharmacies, shelves displaying the paracetamol, especially a leading trademark, were empty due to high demand during the recent rise in Covid-19 numbers.
According to pharmacists, the shortage is also believed to stem from increased purchases for reducing side effects such as fever, joint pain and headaches after receiving booster dose injections.
© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd