Stores run out of stock as dengue menace continues with 99 deaths so far
With the outbreak of dengue across the country, prices of mosquito repellents have shot up in Dhaka city.
Probhakar Biwas Saikat, a resident of Tejgaon area, wanted to buy a mosquito repellent ‘Odomos cream,’ before going to his village home Magura during Eid holidays.
He stopped at a pharmacy in Farmgate area, to buy a 100 gram tube of Odomos. He was surprised when the store keeper asked him to pay Tk500 for a single tube.
“I checked the price on the packaging box, and found that it costs only 92 Indian rupee,” said Saikat.
He paid Tk500 as he was in urgent need of it.
“It is very frustrating that traders in our country charge extra for products, whenever there is a crisis. It has become a culture in our country that traders make huge profit when products are in huge demand. It needs strict monitoring,” he said.
Stocks of mosquito repellents in medical stores have exhausted due to dengue menace, and their wholesale prices have also shot up. When this correspondent visited various pharmacies in the capital, he found the price of the popular mosquito repellent, Odomos cream, has increased manifold while several stores have stopped selling the item as it is out of stock.
A salesman at Q-pharma in city’s Khilgaon area, told Dhaka Tribune that they are not selling Odomos cream as its price in the wholesale market has shot up.
The demand for this particular cream decreased a little at present, it was in high demand two months ago. On an average, they used to sell 50 tubes of this cream every day.
A 50 gram tube of Odomos cream is now being sold at Tk230 in Health and Hope Phrama, Tk220 in Anika Phrama, and Tk200 in Lazz Pharma in the city.
The price of the same pack in Indian online stores range between 30 to 50 Indian rupees.
A salesman at Lazz Pharma, wishing not to be named, told Dhaka Tribune that they have a few tubes left, and he has no idea if his store is going to restock once the present batch is sold out.
Another salesperson at Anika Phrama said, Odomos cream is an Indian product, and the wholesalers are charging extra money. They have to adjust the retail price according to the wholesale rate.
Monjur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director for the Dhaka divisional office of Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) told Dhaka Tribune that they have investigated if the product was really sold at an increased price at wholesale level.
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“We have checked at the importers’ office only to find that local suppliers used fake addresses in the receipts,” he said. The hike is at local level, and not in India, he said.
Some unscrupulous traders in Bangladesh are raising the price of mosquito repellents, and we are trying to track them, he added.
On a visit to neighboring Kolkata in India, this correspondent found that the stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies are out of stock of Odomos as well. The demand for the product has increased suddenly, and they have run out of stock.
No respite from dengue woes
The number of people admitted to hospitals with dengue infection this year surpassed the highest annual tally of dengue cases in the last two decades.
This year, a total of 53,182 dengue patients were reported to have been hospitalized until Sunday 8am since January 1, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The DGHS Health Emergency Operations Centre and Control Room said as many as 1,706 dengue patients, including two with dengue hemorrhagic fever, have been admitted to different hospitals across Bangladesh in the last 24 hours.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne virus, spreads among humans through its carrier, the Aedes mosquito.
The DGHS confirmed 40 deaths due to dengue across Bangladesh from January 1 till August 18, though the unofficial death toll stands at 99.
Of the newly hospitalized patients, the number was 734 in Dhaka city in the last 24 hours ending at 8am on Sunday, whereas it was 972 across Bangladesh, according to the latest DGHS data.
The number of admitted patients currently undergoing treatment in government, and private hospitals across the country is 7,168, it said.
As many as 3,668 patients are currently receiving treatment in 41 government and private hospitals in the capital, whereas 3,500 people are undergoing treatment across the country.
Among those admitted, 45,974 have been released after treatment.