A 32-year-old British woman with a debilitating skin condition who depends on pain relief medication Paracetamol has penned a heartbreaking account of how panic buyers have left pharmacies without it.
Celebrity journalist Myra Ali, 32, was born with epidermolysis bullosa, known as “butterfly skin,” a life-threatening skin condition that has ravaged her body.
“I’m in agonizing pain every single day, and have been mistaken for an acid attack victim,” Ali wrote in The Sun, where she described how her disease makes her “skin blister at the slightest knock” and leaves her with severe burns.
“Paracetamol is my only relief, taken every four hours, in set doses,” she said of the drug, a brand name for acetaminophen. “It’s the only medication I can use: strong painkillers trigger hives on my skin, which leaves me with red, unbearably itchy areas.”
Ali said the high demand for the medication amid the pandemic means that for the first time in her life, she has been unable to find it.
“This is partly thanks to coronavirus panic-buyers, who have depleted supplies at chemists around the country. And it’s the same at high street pharmacies, where I’ve been able to get Paracetamol in the past,” she said.
“While I know some people with chronic illnesses will be stocking up on Paracetamol out of fear – and I don’t blame them – other, healthy Brits are stockpiling boxes in their medicine cabinets ‘just in case.’”
She added: “But to me, it’s utterly selfish to buy more of the drugs than they need. It’s yet another worry for people like me living with agonising conditions at this unprecedented time.
Myra Ali undergoes a cosmetic procedureGetty Images
Ali explained that her incurable condition is caused by a lack of collagen protein in the skin. As a result of the disease, she said she also developed skin cancer last year.
“My hands are scarred and ‘mittened,’ with my fingers fused together by scar tissue. Whenever one of my skin wounds heals, it quickly breaks down again, so I have regular bandage changes every day,” she wrote.
Help may be on the way, though, because Britain has bought almost 3 million packs of the drug from India, according to a report in The Sun.
Ali’s plea also comes amid a report in India Today that many people who returned to India from abroad had consumed Paracetamol to lower their body temperatures before being thermally scanned at the airport.
A woman studying in Paris who returned to Delhi last month admitted that she had a high fever but had taken the medication, which allowed her to fool the screeners.
“A physician in Paris suggested me to consume the tablet on board so that my temperature is not reflected at the airport. I requested authorities for home quarantine which they granted,” she told the news outlet.
“Otherwise, they would have sent me to a government’s quarantine facility,” she added.