Manufacturers, importers and suppliers of N-95 has been directed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) for maintaining parity in prices for non-government procurements for the purpose of making available the same at genuine prices to avoid black marketing.
The mobve by NPPA comes after the complaints related to the black marketing against the higher pricing of N-95 masks in the country.
An NPPA order stated that the “In the wake of the prevailing situation due to COVID-19, the government is striving to ensure uninterrupted supply of N-95 in adequate quantity of HCWs. For this government is procuring N-95 masks directly from the manufacturers, importers and suppliers at bulk rates and at ex-factory prices. However it has been noticed that other procurers (non-government entities) are getting N-95 masks at differential prices,”
An direction has also been issued to all the medical device industry associations like AiMeD, MTaI, CII, FICCI and PWMAI to follow the same.
As per Essential Commodities Act, hoarding and black marketing is an offence and punishable under the act and masks and santisers are now in the essential commodities act. As per guidance issued by union health ministry and World Health Organization (WHO) for management of COVID-19, medical masks are meant for use of frontline healthcare workers (HCWs).
In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005 was enacted by Union Health Ministry from March 13, 2020 in the country and directed all States/UTs to take steps to ensure sufficient availability of surgical and protective mask, hand sanitizers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices (MRP) printed on it.
Demand of PPE kits, N-95 mask have also been increased, thus, it has been ensured by the government to curb the black marketing.
The consumers are not aware about the price of these products and price printed by manufacturer in the current situation of COVID-19.