Following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) declaration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic and its recent detection in Mumbai, Powaiites have begun to rush to their neighbourhood chemists, stockpiling on hand sanitisers, creating a major supply and demand problem for medical distributors.
Popular hand sanitizer brands like Dettol and Lifebuoy are indefinitely out of stock with only some local chemist shops offering expensive alternatives, selling brands which were largely unheard of. Upscale suburbanites are running helter skelter to across the city in a bid to find a medical store where sanitisers are still being sold, while Powai residents from lower income households are unable to get access to hand sanitisers and are making do with soap.
‘The Watchdog News’ reached out to some of the most accessed medical stores following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the city in an attempt to understand the extent to which the supply chain has been affected and by when these essential hygiene accessories will be back in stock.
“We have been completely out of hand sanitiser, ever since news of the coronavirus spread! Our deliver team is facing a major strain while trying to get new batches of sanitisers. We have been getting new batches of 3,000-5,000 sanitisers only for them to run out from the store within five hours. If this is our case, imagine the predicament the local chemists must be in,” said a chemist working at the popular 24-hour medical chain Wellness Forever in Hiranandani, Powai.
While a chemist from the Ashwin Medical and General Store in Daffodil, Hirandani said, we’ve been out of hand sanitiser for the past week now. We have witnessed a sudden spike the demand for sanitiser and are unable to keep up with the demand. We do not know when the stocks will be back.” Another chemist from the Life Panacea medical store said, “While we are currently out of stock of all sanitiser brands, we are expected to receive new stocks soon.”
Meanwhile a chemist from Chaitanya Nagar, Powai’s Nimantran Chemist and Drugs said, “Both Life boy and Dettol have remained out of stock at our store for over a month now, the distributors themselves have no supplies. Most of the sanitiser supplies have been shipped off to meet the demands of other countries. The Coronavirus scare has caused an upheaval in demand, however the supply is not being able to be met. As of now our store has the Rs 86 Suk shanti hand sanitiser.”
A resident from Gundecha Heights, Kanjurmarg, working at Standard Chartered told this correspondent, “I had gone out to all our local chemists in Kanjurmarg and Bhandup a few days ago and was unable to find a single package of Life Boy or Dettol, I then scoured for them at all the 24 hour chemist shops at Hiranandani and other areas of Powai in hopes that I come across any branded sanitiser company, however came back empty handed.”
Another Powai resident said, “I had gone to Haiko to buy sanitizers and was directed to the isle, to my surprise I could not find a single sanitiser from a recognisable brand and was forced to choose from unknown sanitiser brands.” The expected timeframe for the hand sanitisers to be back in stock could not be clearly ascertained at the time of this article’s publication. This paper will follow up on any update pertaining to the supply of hand sanitisers.