Pharmacy

Pharmacies have experienced a drop in sales of influenza, common cold, and stomach flu-related medication following a drop in cases of seasonal illnesses across the board, one leading pharmacy chain and several pharmacists have confirmed with BusinessNow.mt.

Following a Times of Malta report, which quoted the Superintendent of Public Health, Charmain Gauci, who said the number of people getting influenza, usually the highest in January, has dipped due to COVID-19 related protocols, this newsroom sought to confirm if local pharmacies have experienced a drop in patients seeking related-medications.

Several general practitioners had also confirmed fewer cases of common colds and viral gastroenteritis (stomach flus), citing a direct impact of increased hygiene and handwashing.

 CEO of Chemimart Group – one of Malta’s leading pharmacy chains – confirmed that in general, “there has been a drastic drop in sickness across the board”.

Asked whether this has resulted in fewer customers seeking seasonal virus related medicines, Pierre Fava said that Chemimart Group, which has seven pharmacies across the island, has seen a “drop in the use of antibiotics, general cold and flue remedies, cough medicines in particular cough syrups and also throat pastilles too”.

Several pharmacists working in the community backed up Mr Fava’s commentary, saying they are witnessing far fewer patients coming in for medicines related to influenza, common colds and stomach flus.

Onto whether a drop in sales for such medications is a cause for concern with regards stock planning, Mr Fava said:

“This is definitely a cause for concern, as we have stocks, all with an expiry date, that we are unable to sell.

“Furthermore, we cannot do any forecasts for supplies as we are not in a position to know when matters will return to normal and people start living as they did before the pandemic.”

Mr Fava, as well as the pharmacists who spoke with BusinessNow.mt, said this situation has certainly resulted from people going out less frequently, while stomach flu cases can be linked with increased handwashing.

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