In China, people are stocking up on flu drugs resulting in e-commerce sales to volume up over 100-fold from a year ago, Bloomberg reported. This comes amid a spike in infections which has triggered a panic in the country following its’ chaotic exit from the Covid pandemic.

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The medicine is sold under the generic name oseltamivir, the report claimed and its sale has surged to about 533,100 units in the first 13 days of March on the Chinese e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall, it added quoting analytics tracking site Liandanlu.

The daily average volume jumped 129-fold from a year ago, data showed.

“People are more likely to panic following the massive Covid outbreak earlier,” Wang Ruizhe, a Shanghai-based healthcare analyst told Bloomberg, adding, “That combined with a relatively low stock of the antiviral led to a temporary supply-demand mismatch and price hikes.”

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Hoarding the medicine betrays high levels of anxiety in China where hospitals were overwhelmed as Beijing unexpectedly lifted all of its Covid curbs at the end of 2022. To avoid a repeat of the Covid desperation, people in China are buying the flu medicines, Wang Ruizhe reiterated.

“It seems some people are hoarding the antiviral this time. The spread of flu among children is fanning anxiety among parents. The impact of the earlier Covid wave may have also fueled concern,” Wang Ruizhe told Bloomberg.

Flu cases in China have been surging with the positivity rate being 42% in the week beginning March 5, up from 25% a week earlier, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.