Paracetamol 500mg tablets likely run out at the end of the month due to COVID-19

COVID-19 is impacting the manufacturing and transportation of paracetamol.
COVID-19 is impacting the manufacturing and transportation of paracetamol. Photo credit: Getty

PHARMAC announced on Friday that paracetamol 500mg tablets are in short supply at pharmacies due to COVID-19.

The prescription drug is likely to run out at the end of July, with suppliers experiencing difficulties getting flights for the stock in India.

This week, the supplier advised PHARMAC that expected shipments of paracetamol tablets have not arrived, and stock levels have dropped.

“COVID-19 is impacting manufacturing and transportation around the world," says PHARMAC's Chief Executive, Sarah Fitt.

"The supplier is continuing to have stock issues due to decreased capacity at international manufacturing plants and difficulty obtaining flights out of India to transport stock."

Some patients may find their pharmacy is unable to immediately fill their prescriptions for paracetamol.

“We are working with the supplier to do everything possible to source more paracetamol tablets but understand that this may cause difficulties for some people," Fitt says.

Pharmacare is the only contracted brand of funded paracetamol tablets in New Zealand, with over 365 million funded tablets dispensed every year. 

This means it is the responsibility of the supplier to source alternatives, or to pay for the additional cost of an alternative brand that PHARMAC sources.

In March 2020, the company already limited the prescription of paracetamol after a Chinese factory was closed as a result of coronavirus.