Supplier run out of stock

Sonam Pem Tshoki

Never have pharmacies sold hand sanitisers and face masks like they are doing today. With more and more people becoming aware of the coronavirus and the precautions, pharmacies are having a good business, some even running out of stock.

Suppliers in India declared shortage of face masks and refused to supply the amount pharmacies ordered after they ran out of stock.

The Kuenphen Pharmacy in the centre of the Thimphu town received assurance of only 5,000 face masks. They ordered 50,000 three days ago.

“After all the masks we had in the store went out of stock, we ordered face masks worth 50,000, but the supplier has sent us a letter stating that they are out of stock themselves and will be sending the last batch of face masks worth 5,000 on Wednesday”.

The proprietor of the pharmacy, Jharna Rai, said they hardly sold any hand sanitisers, as people did not buy them on a daily basis. “ But now, face masks and hand sanitisers are the most sold item.”

Another pharmacy in town has also received a notification from their supplier informing them about the unavailability. “They told us they wouldn’t be able to supply until further notice,” said the owner.

Namsey Pharmacy on Norzin Lam is out of hand sanitisers and face masks. Pharmacist Choden said that their order is supposed to get here before Thursday.

She said, “After we ran out of surgical masks and hand sanitisers, people bought the N95 masks which is more expensive and effective. The store was out of stock with the N95 masks the same day the masks arrived”

Tshering Dema, 36, a resident of Thimphu was buying face masks and hand sanitisers at a pharmacy. “I heard about pharmacies running out of masks, so I wanted to buy some for my children and husband before it is runs out,” she said.

The Office of Consumer Protection, yesterday, notified all business entities dealing with supply and sale of medical equipment to refrain from charging unreasonable and exorbitant price on any medical equipment or any other products meant for prophylactic purpose to prevent and control the ongoing epidemic Coronavirus.

The price of face masks and hand sanitisers have not increased as of yesterday.

Surgical masks are sold at around Nu 5-10 while the cloth masks are sold for Nu 25-30. The price of the hand sanitisers varies depending on the quantity and brand.