Covid meds running out in Bangkok

Pain and fever relief medications bought up by Chinese tourists

Pain and fever relief medications in Bangkok are running out at some pharmacies, particularly in areas where there is a high concentration of tourists from China, according to a survey by Thai PBS reporters.

Nawat Chevapruek, a pharmacist at a drug store in Huai Khwang district, said that the tourists are buying so much pain relief balm, plasters and other fever and pain medications that they are having to replenish stock more often.

He thinks that Covid-19 meds running out in Bangkok means some – or many – are buying medication for relatives in China or to resell back home.

Thailand is not the first place where hoards of Chinese tourists have been bulk-buying fever meds. In Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore, a massive rush to buy over-the-counter drugs to send back to families in China is causing a risk of shortages.

According to Le Monde, pharmacies in Tokyo districts with a large Chinese community are experiencing shortages of medicines known for their effects against colds, headaches and fever. Several stores are now limiting their purchases to one or two boxes per customer.

The owner of another pharmacy in Phra Nakhon district said that apart from Chinese, European tourists are also buying fever medications from his store.

Krung Surawetsuntorn, president of the Thai Pharmacies Association, told Thai PBS

“The return of tourists from China to Thailand has increased the demand for fever medication such as Tylenol, paracetamol and cough remedies.”

Bangkok is running out of Covid meds, but face masks and rapid antigen test kits are still readily available and prices have dropped substantially, he said, adding that anti-Covid drugs, such as Molnupiravir, are available at some pharmacies at about 1,500 baht (US$50) per bottle and most of the customers are Chinese.

China NewsCovid-19 NewsTourism News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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