Paracetamol brands such as “Biogesic” and names of other similar medications briefly trended online amid the recent rising demand for them after the holidays.
Some online users also reported about nearby pharmacies that declared some of these over-the-counter medications were “out-of-stock.”
“I just went to Mercury kahapon and halos lahat ng customers are buying either Biogesic, Bioflu, Strepsils, Neozep, Bactidol, etc. Stay safe everyone. We don’t know if it’s just seasonal flu or COVID,” one Twitter user claimed.
“Wala na din Biogesic dito sa botika malapit samin anuna,” another online user tweeted.
One Facebook user shared a photo of a branch of a big pharmacy chain that showed a line of customers waiting outside.
“Oh lahat ba ng nilagnat naka-pila na dito? Mapapalunok ka nalang ng plema sa haba ng pila,” the Facebook user said.
Several online users also shared that they have flu or flu-like symptoms. These include coughs, muscle pain and colds.
They associated this with flu season or the period when influenza cases are prevalent in the Philippines.
“Lahat ba may trangkaso na?” one Twitter user asked.
“So bakit may sipon lahat?” another Twitter user asked.
Moreover, there’s also an increasing anxiety about the spike in COVID-19 infections since last week.
As of January 3, the Department of Health recorded 4,084 additional cases, which brings the total to 2,855,819.
Of these, the total recoveries are 2,779,241 and those who died are 51,586.
A Twitter user is hopeful that these reports won’t affect the market price, similar to when there was a demand for face masks during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's alarming that Biogesic is trending and there's a shortage of analgesics and cough & cold meds.
I hope that there won't be a market price spike similar to face masks before.
A lot of people are experiencing COVID-like symptoms too.
Praying for everyone's safety and healing. pic.twitter.com/99H9yHwPJt
— Jim RN|PH (@JimGumboc) January 3, 2022
In a briefing on Tuesday, January 4, the Department of Trade and Industry said that the agency has yet to receive reports of a shortage of paracetamol.
“Wala po kaming natatanggap na report on the shortage lalo na yung mga Paracetamol. Wala ho,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
“Ang dami ho niyan. Saka ang dami pang generics niyan. So, hindi po concern yun,” Lopez added.
Lopez also said there are also enough oxygen supplies.
The DOH also assured the public that there is no shortage of paracetamol and other similar drugs.
“The DOH would like to assure the public that while there is an increased demand for such products, there is no ongoing shortage in the Philippines,” the department said.
— Department of Health (@DOHgovph) January 4, 2022
What doctors are saying
Following the rise in demand for over-the-counter meds, some doctors on Twitter reminded Filipinos of its dosage and advised them of proper intake.
They noted that the popular brands such as Biogesic, Neozep, and Decolgen belong to a type of drug called Paracetamol (acetaminophen).
They cautioned the public that taking these drugs at the same time may cause an overdose.
Ngayong uso ang ubo, sipon, at lagnat, paalala lang:
1. Huwag pagsabayin ang Paracetamol (Biogesic) sa mga cough&cold preps na may laman na ring Paracetamol (Neozep, Decolgen) – overdose abot niyan
— marqdmartianMD (@marqdmartian) January 3, 2022
Just a few reminders:
1. Paracetamol (Biogesic) is to be taken every 4-6 hours or as needed for fever.
2. Neozep and Bioflu are the same. These formulations are to be taken every 6 hours.
3. Meds for dry cough and productive (with phlegm) are different.
4. Drink water!!
— Justine (@jjustineo_) January 3, 2022
According to the medical website Drugs.com, Paracetamol is used to treat many symptoms and conditions such as “headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers.”
Despite its many uses, the website warned that each tablet should be used according to the prescribed dosage only.
“An overdose of paracetamol can cause serious harm. The maximum amount of paracetamol for adults is 1 gram (1 000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4 000 mg) per day. Taking more paracetamol could cause damage to your liver,” the website read.
Some Twitter users also suggested home remedies and herbal medicines for flu in the meantime amid the scarcity of these medicines.
Twitter user @KasamangTito shared a list of herbal drinks that can be concocted at home.
They include ginger/turmeric tea, boiled malunggay leaves and juiced ampalaya leaves.
Mga kasama, we’ve seen reports of pharmacies running out of stock ng lagundi syrup/capsule and paracetamol.
Here’s a list of herbal medicines we recommend to peasant masses. And how to prepare it at home.
— Ka Tito (@KasamangTito) January 3, 2022
One Twitter user also suggested mixing water with citrus fruits like lemon and calamansi.
“First remedy is drinking warm water that is mixed with lemon and honey. Second, warm water mixed with ginger, lemon and honey. Lastly is hot kalamansi (idk what that’s called but you have to grill the kalamansi like until it softens and drinks it),” the user said.