Whilst the risk of contracting Coronavirus in the UK and Europe is relatively low, the ripple effect of the epidemic has provoked another issue for Chinese medicine suppliers – acupuncture needle shortages.
The epidemic had grounded China’s economy to a halt as many individuals were unable to get to work. As of the 20th February, only 25-28.3% of China’s workforce in tier 1-3 cities have returned to work. Despite Chinese leaders encouraging citizens to return to work, many people still cannot get to their workplaces due to travel bans and road closures. China are now experiencing heavily reduced economic productivity and manufacturing industries are hit the hardest.
How the Western TCM Industry is Affected
As with many acupuncture and herbal suppliers in the west, the majority of our supplies come from China. It is apparent that we may face an industry wide issue of supply shortage for the next 6 months. Even suppliers that import products from other east Asian countries like Japan, Korea or Taiwan will experience shortages as many of their raw materials also come from China. All the more if workers at acupuncture needle factories do return to work, the supply chain will still be affected as they rely on raw materials from other suppliers to make the acupuncture needles; for example the steel that they use for acupuncture needles or paper board for packaging.
Precautionary Measures to Curb Supply Shortage at Phoenix
Luckily, we had placed orders for more stock towards the end of December so our acupuncture needle factories already have the raw materials to produce our Phoenix brand needles. We expect to import stock to the UK in April. In addition, we are prepared to fly in the most popular needle sizes to ensure acupuncturists in the UK and Europe can continue practice without disruption, despite air freight being extremely costly. Moreover, to curb supply shortages, we have imposed maximum purchase quantities for a number of our acupuncture needles. Orders may be limited to 10, 20, 50 or 100 boxes of certain needle sizes depending on our current stock levels. We hope that this means that there will be plenty of stock to go around until the supply chain returns back to normal.
Alternative Needle Sizes
If your desired needle size is out of stock, we also offer alternative sizes i.e. instead of 0.25mm needles, you may order 0.22mm which will feel virtually the same. If you need assistance in choosing a suitable alternative, our sales team are always happy to help you find your match.
For the majority of our concentrated granules, we have plenty of stock and we should not expect shortages. Unfortunately, dry herb suppliers are harder hit as farming authentic and unsulphured herbs is an industry that is labour intensive. We will endeavour to work with our suppliers to ensure that there is as little disruption to our supplies as possible. – *UPDATE 5/3/20: we can confirm that our herb suppliers have returned to normal operations and we will have dry herb and concentrated granule stocks replenished mid-May 2020.
If you have any questions about our products or supply shortages, please contact our team by posting a comment below, by calling +44 (0) 1245 350822 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.