(MENAFN - Arab News) Sales of antibiotics face masks and vitamins have doubled at local pharmacies because of the middle east respiratory syndrome (mers) outbreak in the kingdom pharmacists said here on monday.
fahad batterjee a member of the pharmacies committee at the jeddah chamber of commerce and industry said there has been a 100 percent increase in the sales of these items.
he warned about the emergence of a black market for these products.
siraj abed vice president of the pharmacists club in jeddah said these products are being purchased mostly by the elderly pregnant women and people with allergies and asthma.
he said these items usually constitute only 10 percent of a pharmacy's stock but have now become the most in-demand products.
abed said it was unlikely that a black market would be created for these items because they are widely available at pharmacies retail outlets and local markets.
he said most of these products are produced in asian countries and have been checked out by the saudi standards metrology and quality organization (saso).
bandar riyad a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company specializing in preventive medical supplies in jeddah confirmed that there has been rising demand from the private and public sectors.
he said there was a shortage of up to 30 percent for some products but pharmaceutical companies in saudi arabia have the capacity to cover any requests.
tariq al-nahdi the owner of the al-nahdi pharmacy chain in the kingdom confirmed in a statement on monday that there has been high demand for these products which reflects the precautions jeddah residents are taking to counter mers.
the saudi drugs market is worth sr11 billion with about sr7 billion coming from imports. the country's western region makes up 45 percent of the market he said.