New medicine restrictions expand to Wheatbelt as buyers stock up

Precautions: Northam pharmacies have urged customers not to panic buy medication. Photo: Supplied.

Precautions: Northam pharmacies have urged customers not to panic buy medication. Photo: Supplied.

Avon Valley based pharmacies are seeing an increase in customers with panic-buying extending to medication.

Customers have been stocking up on several months' worth of prescriptions and over the counter goods, forcing limits to be put in place for the purchase of ventolin and paracetamol.

Bakers Hill Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Sam Soliman said his business had picked up dramatically since the increase of COVID-19 diagnoses.

"In the last couple of weeks we have had an increase in business with people trying to keep products stocked up at home," Mr Soliman said.

"Paracetamol, ibuprofen and cold and flu tablets have been going out of stock because people think they will need them in the future.

"We seen people come from other suburbs to buy ventolin, hand sanitiser and toilet paper.

"We have been experiencing the same here as on a national scale."

Mr Soliman said the increased buying habits could impact the future of the local pharmacy.

"When coronavirus ends we will have a month or two of very slow business because people will already have stocked up on more than enough of what they need. It's a cycle," he said.

"Medication is different to food - if they have a box or two they don't need to buy more."

To counteract panic buying, new rules were announced by federal health officials on Thursday advising community pharmacists to enforce new limits on dispensing prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

These measures include limiting paracetamol and ventolin purchases to one per customer with children's paracetamol to be sold behind the counter.

Additionally, pharmacies have been urged to limit prescriptions to one month's worth of supplies.

The announcement was made after many patients reported being unable to get important medication.