Coronavirus: N95 Masks, Sanitizers Price Shoots Up By 233% ; Govt Warns Against Blackmarketing
Panic has gripped the people of the country as the coronavirus cases reach 39!
Amidst the chaos in Delhi-NCR, the demand for surgical and N95 masks increased manifold in Noida on March 3 with some corrupt traders have started hoarding and blackmarketing leading to shortage.
Read to find out more about the problem…
The Reason for Shortage!
Many people are scrambling to buy face masks and hand sanitisers, which is creating a shortage at many places.
People on March 3 were claiming they were being sold at rates much higher than the actual cost. People also complained about shortage of hand sanitizers in the market. The surgical masks usually sell for Rs 10. People claimed they were being sold for Rs 40 or higher, and N95 masks which sell for around Rs 150 were being sold for up to Rs 500.
Gautam Buddh Nagar Chemists Association President Anoop Khanna said the demand shot up after news of suspected coronavirus cases in Noida started doing rounds on news and social media. Khanna said, “If a pharmacy sold 10-15 masks daily on an average, today the demand went up to 100. Several retailers went out of stock in Noida and Greater Noida, while wholesalers too had a tough time meeting the demand.”
He said there was a huge demand specifically for N95 masks as they are recommended by healthcare experts for prevention against viruses. He added the demand for masks and panic among people due to the novel coronavirus is more than what was witnessed during peak air pollution around Diwali.
Sushil Jain, president of Noida’s Sector 18 market, said he got to know of several pharmacies selling masks at rates higher than the MRP, and suggested government’s interference to regulate the prices in a situation like this.
Government’s Action Against Hoarding and Blackmarketing!
The Centre on March 6 warned of stringent action against hoarding and black-marketing of face masks and hand sanitisers amid rising demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Union Minister for Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals DV Sadananda Gowda said although the government does not have the latest update on supply-demand of these products, the real assessment of availability will be made.
According to reports, Gowda said “While the industry players are saying there is no shortage of face masks and hand sanitisers in the country, our department will assess the availability and accordingly take further action.”
Drug inspector Rajkumar Sharma said, “We are doing rounds of the markets and talking to shopkeepers, wholesalers and customers. There is a shortage of N95 masks in the city, but shopkeepers can’t charge more than the maximum retail price. We have warned the sellers that strict action would be taken against them if they were found black marketing masks and sanitizers. In case any complaint of overpricing is found correct, the licence of the seller would be cancelled.”