HEALTH SCARE: Guardian Pharmacy Gatton pharmacist David Cullen has been inundated with customers buying hand sanitiser and face masks. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.
HEALTH SCARE: Guardian Pharmacy Gatton pharmacist David Cullen has been inundated with customers buying hand sanitiser and face masks. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.

Stockpilers’ virus panic forces Gatton medical shortage

A GATTON pharmacy will run out of hand sanitiser early this week, and is not sure when their next supply will arrive.

Pharmacist David Cullen, at Guardian Pharmacy, said a lot of people were "stockpiling" face masks and hand sanitiser following the Coronavirus outbreak.

But what shocked Mr Cullen most was the exorbitant price for an order of face masks

Mr Cullen said he ordered 20 cartons of face masks - about 400 in total - but was stumped when a small box was delivered.

"They turned up in this tiny box and we got 20 masks that cost us $500," he said.

"We can't sell 20 face masks for $500, people are just profiteering.

"These ones are imported, so they probably cost more, but $500 is just crazy. There are people who are absolutely trying to fleece you."

It meant the pharmacy would have had to charge $50 per mask just to cover costs. Mr Cullen said they sent the masks back to the supplier.

He said pharmacy staff had been limiting masks to 10 per person, and there was no point in wearing them if you were healthy.

"The whole point of wearing the mask is if you're sick to reduce droplets spreading," he said.

As of Monday afternoon, Mr Cullen said had just a handful of hand sanitisers left.

"It's all panic buying. Next people will be recommending buying two weeks' supply of food in case there is a lockdown," he said.

Mr Cullen said if alcohol-based hand sanitiser was not available, then soap and water was the next best option.

The deadly Covid-19 virus was discovered 55 days ago.

It has infected more than 80,000 people, killed 3039 and is present in 90 countries.

Perth man, 78-year-old James Kwan is the first Australian to die from the virus.

More than 160 Australians are quarantined.