Taiwan to ration paracetamol after bulk-buying for China

Authorities are debating whether Taiwan will ration paracetamol, as the Covid situation across the strait deteriorates and concern grows following Taiwan’s reopening for travel. Taiwan may impose buying limits on all kinds of painkillers as people buy up local supplies to ship them to China where the pandemic has put a strain on supplies.

Hsueh Jui-yuan, Taiwan’s minister of health and welfare, said.. “The health authorities will discuss if they need to impose restrictions but there is no concrete plan in place yet.”

Taiwan has experienced shortages of paracetamol since May when cases surged. Over the past few weeks, customers have stocked up, fearing another surge in cases after reopening to tourists in October.

Virus 'protection' keeping pharmacies busy | The Star
Customers in Taiwan stock up, fearing another surge in cases as tourists return.

Some buyers are looking to ship or take the painkillers to the Chinese mainland, where Covid-19 cases and deaths have risen to millions each day.

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Chang, a Taiwanese product designer who works in Beijing and is currently on vacation in Taipei, said he planned to buy fever drugs and rapid antigen test kits before returning to work. He said…

“I feel there’s a high chance for me to get infected after I return to Beijing, so I figure I’d prepare some drugs to avoid all the hectic I may experience trying to get a hold of drugs.”

China is struggling to ensure drug supplies after ending its zero-Covid policy. To address shortages, more than a dozen Chinese pharmaceutical firms have been told to help “secure supplies” of key drugs.

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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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