FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s drug regulator BfArM said on Friday it had received initial reports of pharmacies and drug distributors hoarding products and ordered them to limit inventories to normal levels.

“BfArm has been informed of an increase in instances of excessive pharmaceutical stockpiling by certain market participants, with supply imbalances as a direct result,” the agency said in a statement on its website.

The watchdog said the coronavirus outbreak might lead to disruptions in production and transportation though there were currently no signs of it affecting the supply of drugs.

“Drug distributors and drug manufacturers are required not to deliver drugs in amounts that exceed the normal level,” BfArM said.

It issued specific upper limits for deliveries to retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies and wholesale companies, partly based on multiples of average weekly sales volumes, for as long as the coronavirus pandemic lasts.

A BfArM spokesman declined to say what drugs had been stockpiled excessively.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss; Editing by Mark Heinrich)