New Delhi: Hand sanitizers and face masks vanished from chemist shops in many areas of the national capital and adjoining towns as people resorted to panic buying amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Many chemist shops in several localities have run out of stock and manufacturers have not replenished the stock as demand took a sudden spike in the past couple of days.
Some chemist shops who have stocks available for masks have also jacked up prices, selling items that were available earlier for Rs 150 at Rs 300.
“There was steady demand of hand sanitizers and masks in the past two months since the outbreak of coronavirus but ever since a case was reported in Delhi, there has been a sudden spike in demand,” a sales person who asked not to be identified said.
Commonly used hand sanitizers of brands like ‘Dettol’ and ‘Himalaya’ are not available on the shelves of many of the chemists although some of them have few stocks remaining of medical hand rubs, which come at bottles of different sizes with prices ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 600.
“We are not getting supplies of those brands and we are running out of stock of what we have, as demand has been huge in the last two days,” said another sales person at a different chemist shop.
Another chemists said there is ‘obviously panic buying’ but it is not a case of these items being big available at all in the market.
“We just ran out of stock of hand sanitizers, if you wait for a couple of hours, we would definitely give you (the items),” said the chemist.
When confronted why a mask that was earlier sold for Rs 150 is being quoted at Rs 300, salesperson of a particular chemist said, “When there is so much demand, what else do we do?” Even in up market location like Khan Market, none of the chemists had hand sanitizers.