Kochi: As concerns are high over the availability, people are in panic-buying of essential medicines. Merchants say that pharma sale has climbed four-fold within last week.
The surge in sales was triggered by rumours that warned of impending scarcity of medicine in the state if the cross border movement of goods is affected. However the authorities said that all steps have been taken to ensure supply of medicines.
Medicines of worth Rs. 12,000 crore are sold in the state yearly. Of these, items produced in the state may be worth less than Rs. 100 crore. Those imported from North Indian states are stored in warehouses of Kochi before they are supplied across the state.
Consumers are stocking medicines for two or three months fearing a scarcity if goods traffic through the border is disrupted.
Medicines prescribed for lifestyle disease like diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol are bought in larger quantiy in this manner.
Medical stores are witnessing long queues of customers to buy such medicines. Shops which usually sold medicine worth Rs. 10,000 now report sales of Rs. 40,000 during the last few days. Rural areas have started to face scarcity of medicines of late. Distribution of medicine is affected due to non-availability of sales staff, who are unable to commute as before for want of public transport
Medicines to be distributed in the month of April are usually shipped to the warehouses in the state in March.
Traders warn about severe scarcity of medicines in the future if actions are not taken to increase the production of medicines in the state.