COVID-19: One Week Into Lockdown, Kolkata Stores Run Out Of Essential Medicines

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Only a week into the countrywide lockdown and Kolkata is already facing a shortage of key life-saving drugs. Retailers across the city have run out of essential medicines such as azithromycin, amlodipine, telmisartan, apart from regular antiseptics like Dettol etc.

Retailers say panic buying, especially after PM Modi’s lockdown announcement on March 25 evening has triggered a sudden shortage as most wanted to stock up regular medicines.

Several drugs aren’t being replaced by suppliers. We are barely getting 40-50% supply due to the lockdown. Common drugs are not getting replaced after the medicines get sold out over the counter, said Biman Paik, who runs a pharmaceutical store in central Kolkata.

Common drugs used to treat ailments such as blood pressure and diabetes are out of stock. One such drug that has vanished from the Kolkata market is hydroxichloroquine, a common anti-malaria drug which US president Donald Trump referred to as a possible cure for coronavirus during a press briefing last week.

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