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EXCLUSIVE: Wholesalers out of hand sanitiser indefinitely


By Isabel Shaw

06 Mar 2020

Pharmaceutical wholesalers have run out of supplies of hand sanitiser leaving community pharmacies unable to get stocks, The Pharmacist can reveal.

At least three major wholesalers – Lexon UK, McKesson UK and DE Group – have confirmed they will be unable to supply community pharmacies for the foreseeable future, in the wake of government advice to use sanitiser to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Phoenix Medical Supplies told The Pharmacist they had depleted their supply earlier this week and hoped to have stock again ‘by the end next week’.

‘There is not a lot [community pharmacies] can do before then,’ a Phoenix spokesperson said.

DE Group told The Pharmacist: ‘We’ve not had hand sanitiser for a long time. We’ve tried but not managed to get in any at all and still can’t.’

McKesson UK, the parent company of community pharmacy wholesaler AAH Pharmaceuticals, said: ‘ Unfortunately we are out of stock at the moment. We’re waiting for an order to come in, but it hasn’t come in so far.’

Lexon also said they were unable to source any hand sanitiser, and were ‘not giving dates’ as to how long it would be until supplies came in.

However, pharmacists said this afternoon (6 March) that they’d been warned by wholesalers they could face a three-month wait for hand sanitiser.

A spokesperson for AAH Pharmaceuticals said in a statement: ‘We have recently experienced an increase in demand for things like hand gels, paracetamol and ibuprofen.

‘We know that having access to these products is extremely important to our customers, so we are doing everything we can to ensure availability, despite the increasing demand and supply challenges.

‘We are constantly reviewing our approach to make sure people have access to the products they need.’

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