The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has warned of stringent action against hoarding and black-marketing of N-95 masks in the country amid rising demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In an office memorandum, Alok Ranjan, assistant director at NPPA, has stated, “Due to Covid-19, a mismatch is noted between the demand and supply of N-95 masks in the country. As per guidance, it has been stated that medical masks are primarily meant for use of frontline health care workers.”
“The government is procuring N-95 masks directly from the manufacturers and suppliers at bulk rates. However, it has been noticed that other procurers (non-government entities) are getting N-95 masks at differential process,” he said.
NPPA directed all manufacturers and suppliers to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices.
“Any instance of hoarding, black-marketing and higher prices of N-95 masks reported will be viewed seriously and action shall be initiated by the government under the Essential Commodities Act 1955,” the memorandum warned.