NPPA Asks N95 Mask Manufacturers, Importers and Suppliers to Maintain Parity in Prices
Instead of capping price of N95 masks that are most required by healthcare professionals who are frontline fighters in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked makers, importers and suppliers of these masks to maintain parity in prices for all buyers.
 
In an office memorandum, Alok Ranjan, assistant director in the NPPA, which functions under the department of pharmaceuticals under the ministry of chemical and fertilizers, says, "...in order to ensure availability of N95 masks at affordable prices in the country, NPPA hereby directs manufacturers, importers and suppliers of the N95 masks to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices."
 
The Authority, however, failed to explain what is the reasonable price of N95 masks. 
 
As repeatedly pointed out by Moneylife, without any directive from the government, there is rampant black markereering and hoarding of N95 masks across the country. 
 
In fact, on Tuesday, the Bombay High Court (BHC) had asked additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil C Singh to take instructions from the Union government on capping prices for N95 masks and respond by Friday on two letters sent by Maharashtra government on the same subject.
 
When the ASG informed the bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice SS Shinde that the government had already capped prices of two-ply, three-ply masks and hand sanitisers, the bench orally directed him to take instructions on what the central government has done regarding the representation sent by Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on prices of N95 masks.
 
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sucheta Dalal, founder-trustee of Moneylife Foundation and Anjali Damania, founder-trustee of Voice of Indian Taxpayers, a non-government organisation (NGO). 
 
The 13th May letter sent by the commissioner of Maharashtra food and drug administration (FDA) had requested the chairman of NPPA to fix price for sale of N95 masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) kits. 
 
The second letter sent on 15 May 2020 by the Maharashtra FDA to the NPPA shares details of investigation carried out and reports the findings against four companies in the state. The joint commissioner's response also includes the prices currently being offered by various manufacturers namely, Magnum (Rs250), Venus (Rs180) and 3M (Rs121 or Rs146 depending on the model no.) of N95 masks. The commissioner reinforces in his letter that while investigation in this matter is being carried out, the NPPA should expedite the pricing matter on top priority. 
 
The PIL sought relief from black marketeering, hoarding and profiteering of N95 masks in Maharashtra despite N95 masks being declared as essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The petition also alleged that Maharashtra state had failed to take adequate measures to ensure that sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks at fair prices.
 
"While these N95 masks are being sold at marked up rates of over 150% by insidious dealers, the frontline workers do not have enough N95 masks and till date more than 800 frontline workers have tested COVID-19 positive mainly due to the lack of adequate protective gear including N95 masks," the PIL mentions. 
 
N95 masks or N95 respirators are particulate-filtering facepieces which filter at least 95% of airborne particles. The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, also known as non-woven polypropylene fabric, which is produced through a process called melt blowing that forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles. These masks provide protection against particulates but not against gases or vapours. Thus, these masks are ideal for use for frontline workers including healthcare workers who work in close proximity to the COVID-19 patients, as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily spreads via respiratory droplets and particulates from cough, sneezes and talking.
 
As the number of confirmed cases grew, the demand for hand sanitizers and masks (including N95 masks) grew exponentially. On 13 March 2020, the union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution issued an order for regulating production, quality, distribution, logistics of masks (two-ply, three-ply surgical masks and N95 masks) and hand sanitisers and further prevented hoarding, black marketing and profiteering on these items.
 
The ministry of chemical and fertilisers also passed an order on 13 March 2020 directing all state governments, union territories (UTs) and concerned state authorities to take necessary steps to ensure sufficient availability of surgical masks and other masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices (MRP) printed on the pack size. 
 
You may also want to read...
 
 
 
 
 
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    J&J stops selling baby talcum powder in US, Canada following charges that it causes cancer
    Johnson & Johnson (J&J), US-based global healthcare company, has announced it will stop selling baby talcum powder in the US and Canada. According to the media reports, the company faces thousands of consumer lawsuits claiming it caused cancer.
     
    The announcement comes after years of litigation where J&J has been asked to pay billions of dollars in damages. It faces over 16,000 consumer lawsuits alleging talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen.
     
    J&J said it would wind down sales of the product, which accounted for 0.5 per cent of its US consumer health business, in the coming months. But retailers will continue to sell the existing inventory.
     
    The firm said demand for its baby powder had been declining in North America "due, in large part, to changes in consumer habits and misinformation around the safety of the product".
     
    J&J said it had faced "a constant barrage" of lawyers advertising for clients to sue the firm. "We remain steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based baby powder. Decades of independent scientific studies by medical experts around the world support the safety of our product," the company was quoted as saying by the BBC.
     
    In October 2019, J&J said its testing had found no asbestos in the baby powder, after tests by the US Food and Drug Administration discovered trace amounts.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    You Don’t Need Invasive Tech for Successful Contact Tracing. Here’s How It Works
    While most discussions have focused on countries’ use of surveillance technology, contact tracing is actually a fairly manual process. After interviewing contact tracing experts and taking an online course, ProPublica health reporter Caroline Chen presents her takeaways.
     
    I want you to mentally prepare yourself for a phone call that you could receive sometime over the course of this pandemic: in the next few months or year.
     
    Your phone might ring, and when you pick it up, you may hear someone say, “Hi, I’m calling from the health department.” After verifying your identity, the person may say something like, “I’m afraid we have information that you were in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.”
     
    The person calling is what’s known as a contact tracer. As most states begin to lift restrictions on movement and people once more start to eat in restaurants, work in offices and get on public transit, these phone calls will become more frequent. State public health departments are hiring thousands of these workers, and experts are calling for more than 100,000 contact tracers to be deployed across America.
     
    I can only imagine how I would feel if I got a call telling me that I had been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient—shocked, a little scared and possibly a bit in denial. But after spending a week talking to contact tracing experts across the country, and taking an online course as well, I think I’d also feel one more thing: empowered. Here’s why.
     
    Contact Tracing Will Help Us Reopen Safely
    Contact tracing is a public health strategy that has been used successfully to combat infectious disease outbreaks across the globe, from the 1930s, when it helped get rampant syphilis under control in the United States, to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
     
    Fundamentally, contact tracing works by tracking down all the contacts of an infected person and then taking appropriate action to break the chain of transmission. In practice, that action will vary depending on the nature of the disease — obviously, you don’t need someone to self-isolate at home and have groceries delivered to them if a disease can only be transmitted sexually.
     
    The current coronavirus has been particularly tricky to contain because patients can be contagious a few days before they display symptoms, and some infected people may never show symptoms at all. Furthermore, the time between the onset of symptoms from one case to another is estimated to be quite short, around four days. All these characteristics have helped the virus spread rapidly—and that means that tracers have to move very quickly to reach patients and their contacts in order to cut off new branches of infection.
     
    Experts tell me that contact tracing is the key to safely reopening the economy.
     
    “This narrative has emerged that either we lift all our social distancing measures and let the virus burn through the population, or we hunker down at home forever and let the economy collapse, but that is a false choice,” said Dr. Crystal Watson, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of a white paper on how the United States can scale up its abilities to identify and trace COVID-19 cases.
     
    “We have this tool—contact tracing—and if we spend some effort and funding on actually building up our capacities, we can control transmission, get back to work much more safely and avoid unnecessary loss of thousands of lives.”
     
    When a patient gets a coronavirus test, the lab reports the results back not only to the patient’s doctor, but also to the local health department. A contact tracer is assigned to the case and will call the person to ask about symptoms, to take down information about people the patient has been in close contact with recently, and to help draw up a plan for isolation, which could entail figuring out how to get groceries or medications delivered. Continue Reading…
     
    Courtesy: ProPublica.org
  • Like this story? Get our top stories by email.

    User 

    We are listening!

    Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
      Loading...
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email
    Close

    To continue


    Please
    Sign Up or Sign In
    with

    Email

    BUY NOW

    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
    online financia advisory
    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
    financial magazines online
    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
    financial magazines in india
    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)
    FREE: Your Complete Family Record Book
    Keep all the Personal and Financial Details of You & Your Family. In One Place So That`s Its Easy for Anyone to Find Anytime
    We promise not to share your email id with anyone