With Lebanon’s economy in a tailspin and the coronavirus pandemic wreaking chaos, panic buying has gripped pharmacies, creating shortages and a flourishing black market.
All manner of pharmaceutical products have started disappearing from the shelves in recent weeks, including some of the most widely needed.
Mostly imported, they include any medicine thought to fight symptoms of COVID-19, pills for patients with chronic diseases, baby formula and even vitamin supplements.
One customer, Abbas, 37, said he was giving up as he stepped out of a large Beirut pharmacy.
“I asked for two things,” he said -- aspirin and an antibiotic. “I found neither.”
Abbas said he would have to buy them at much higher prices on the black market, adding dejectedly that the store had also run out of the special shampoo he had been buying for years.
“This country is really going to the dumps,” he said.
Lebanon was already facing its worst economic crisis in decades and dollar shortages before the pandemic.
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