Amid case surges after the easing of zero-COVID policies in China, citizens there are scrambling to stockpile pain and fever medications, and in case they can't, the traditional home remedy of canned yellow peaches, CNN reports.
The panic buying is leading to online and in-store shortages of over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol and Advil to treat the symptoms of potential COVID-19 infections. Chinese officials said that as of today, they had detected 2,249 symptomatic infections across the country, of which 20% were identified in the capital city of Beijing. CNN, however, estimates the case count in that city could be much higher than reported.
'No need to panic'
Also sold out in many online stores were canned yellow peaches, considered in many parts of China to be a very nutritious delicacy. In response, Dalian Leasun Food, one of the largest producers of canned food in the country, released a statement on weibo.com late last week saying that the peaches don't have any therapeutic effect, CNN reports.
"Canned yellow peaches ≠ medicines!" the company said in the post. "There is enough supply, so there is no need to panic. There is no rush to buy."
The Communist party's publication, The People's Daily, also encouraged the public not to stockpile the peaches because they are "useless in alleviating symptoms of illness" and to stop stocking up on medications.
According to The Economic Times, Chinese state media outlet The Economic Daily also discouraged amassing drugs to treat viral symptoms. "There is no scientific basis for irrationally buying and hoarding specific drugs," it wrote last week.
There is no scientific basis for irrationally buying and hoarding specific drugs.
Shares of Hong Kong–based Xinhua Pharmaceutical, which makes 40% of China's ibuprofen, rose 60% in the past 5 days; its stock has increased 147% so far this month, CNN reports. "Our company's production lines are operating at full capacity, and we are working overtime to produce urgently needed medicines, such as ibuprofen tablets," the company said on Dec 12.
Similarly, shares of Shenzhen-based Guizhou Bailing Group Pharmaceuticals, which makes cough syrup, have risen 21% this week and 51% this month.