„Panic buying“ and scammers.
After a few months have passed, the second wave of the pandemic hit the world. Due to the rising “Panic buying” syndrome, supply chains had a very difficult time meeting the demand, despite the fact that up until the second wave, medicine and PPE demand level stabilised. All of that was thanks to governments preparing for a second wave of COVID-19 and stocking higher amounts of PPE’s.
Consumers and high-income countries took all the necessary precautions during the first wave and were increasing their stock not considering whether the y needed it at that time or not. Excessive mark-ups, and distributors that held on to their stock to create an implied shortage, that afterwards sold the products with inflated prices, did not stop the consumers. As a result, poorer countries experienced shortages again, as each company experienced supply disruptions. Even though the goods were restricted, and delivery times became longer than usual, the manufacturing and service sectors were still open
It is important to note that with the second wave, there was a resurging problem connected to everyone being dependent on suppliers. There was a huge surge of illegal and fake PPE products that did not meet standards, and for a short time, products that were acknowledged as meeting said standards (such as the Chinese KN95, US N95 or the European FFP2), were sold to consumers. For instance, a huge influx of fake face masks and surgical gloves in Egypt posed a serious threat to public health due to COVID-19. Medicine shortages opened doors to scammers and panic buying just opened those doors that much more, because buyers diversified their purchasing habits and did not limit themselves to existing and recognised suppliers.
Many countries invested huge sums into medical products, that they never received. For instance, a company in Europe ordered from a company in Singapore about 6.6 million (7.6 mln. USD) Euro worth of face masks and disinfectant gel, and never got the delivery. Millions of masks from China have not reached their customers, because orders kept getting cancelled due to the fact that the goods did not meet standards and were defective.
After these events WHO started a more stringent process of labelling requirements for manufacturers and their products, info brochures became available, that detailed the visual and provided a description of products, thus helping suppliers avoid potential scams.