Govt warns against hoarding N-95 masks

The department of pharmaceuticals has issued a directive that warns manufactures, importers and suppliers against overpricing and hoarding of N-95 masks, after receiving complaints of people selling it at exorbitant rates in market even though the government has already declared it an essential commodity in the wake of coronavirus disease pandemic.

The department of pharmaceuticals has asked States to ensure that N-95, surgical masks, gloves and hand sanitisers are available in sufficient sufficiently and the selling price does not exceed the maximum retail price mentioned at the back of the pack.

“This refers to the grievances being received regarding hoarding, back marketing and differential higher pricing of N-95 masks in the country…. It is hereby informed that N-95 has been mask has been notified as an essential commodity on March 13 under the Essential Commodities Act… hoarding, black marketing is punishable offence under the Act.,” says the directive issued on Thursday. Under the Act those who fail to comply with the directive are liable for a prison term of minimum three months with fine that can also go up to 7 years.

A senior government official said that the directive was necessary because people were selling it at different rates. “Profiteering at this time when people are fighting a pandemic is not acceptable.”

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