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Is there an adequate supply of face masks and hand sanitiser?

Face masks and hand sanitiser are things that everyone is carrying around during the Covid outbreak, so Vientiane Times asked some pharmacies and manufacturers how they are coping with supply and demand.


Mr Souknilanh Thanasack, a sales manager at Saimangkorn Pharmacy Import-Export Co., Ltd: Our company imports and exports medical and chemical products involving numerous countries. In Laos we supply medicines and other equipment to hospitals and pharmacies. This year we have prepared face masks, alcohol-based sanitiser and other supplies for use in preventing the spread of Covid-19. However, sales of face masks and sanitiser are down compared to last year. I think this is because manufacturers in other countries have stepped up production, as we also have. So, this year we have enough face masks and are selling them at a lower price than last year.     

Ms Chintavan Somsy, branch manager of NNC Pharmacy Co., Ltd. in Luang Prabang province: Our company sells medicines and medical equipment, most of which is imported from Vietnam. But these days sales of face masks and hand sanitiser are slow. I’m not sure what the reason for this is, but it’s different compared to last year when the pandemic first began. But it’s good that we have a plentiful supply of these products because if there’s a shortage there will be problems like there were last year.

Ms Thavone Chanthavong, a shop assistant at Saysaath pharmacy: Last year when news of the pandemic first emerged we sold a lot of face masks and alcohol-based gel, but now sales have dropped off. I think this is because many people are now selling them online at a low price. And there are stalls selling face masks, sanitiser and face shields on the streets. It’s easier to buy these things now. And more people have these items in stock so there’s no longer a rush to buy them because of short supply. However, I would like to warn people to be on the lookout for fake products or products of poor quality. It’s best to buy what you need from a pharmacy so that you’re not cheated.     

Ms Somphathai, a vendor with Kongchai Laos Pharmacy Co., Ltd: Our company stocked up on face masks and hand sanitiser for sale during the virus outbreak, but they didn’t sell well. We’ve had fewer customers this year than last. Maybe this is because manufactures have increased production capacity so there are more products on the market and supply is regular. In addition, these items are now being sold online so there is easy access.

Ms Pany Khamphavong, a vendor at Sengsok pharmacy: We’re selling a lot of face masks and hand sanitiser. Many people buy them every day, especially those that are made locally. I’m glad that Lao people trust and buy products made in Laos. I believe that things made in Laos are just as good as items that are imported. I urge everyone to be aware of the need to protect themselves and to be on their guard against poor quality products. People should seek information before buying anything or ask a professional so that they make wise choices.  


By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update June 3, 2021)

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