Junta shuts drug warehouses accused of hoarding supplies to inflate prices 

The junta has shuttered pharmaceutical warehouses after accusing them of manipulating drug prices as Myanmar fights a third wave of Covid-19, according to a statement published in military-controlled newspapers on Saturday.  

Officials from several departments under the junta’s control investigated 31 warehouses in Yangon and forced some of them to close after finding they had been “manipulating the market and raising prices” by hoarding drugs, the statement said.

Investigators inspected lists of medicines as well as warehouses’ licenses and their past business activities to determine whether they had been stockpiling drugs to manipulate the market, it added.  

The junta is still allowing drugs to be delivered to places where there is demand for them but has instructed warehouses to keep strict records of deliveries, the statement said. 

A pharmacist in Yangon’s Pabedan township said that there had been delays in deliveries of some drugs because of the warehouse closures.

“It’s harder to get drugs delivered now, but we’re not running out,” he said. 

Oxygen Tracker MM, a group that helps people track down scarce medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients, said that the junta has shut a total of 44 drug warehouses and pharmacies.

The group said on its Telegram channel that it feared the warehouse closures could cause shortages of 34 types of drugs used to fight Covid-19, including vaccines and dexamethasone. 

The junta’s commerce ministry did not answer calls seeking comment on the warehouse closures.  

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