The Maharashtra government has written to NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) asking for price capping of N95 masks. The state government has written in that letter that the MRP (maximum retail price) printed on the N95 mask is exorbitant. Maharashtra Health Secretary Sanjay Mukherjee wants it capped at the Government price of Rs42. We are hoping that the NPPA and the Textile Ministry of India take immediate appropriate action on this.
It is mentioned in the letter that “The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Govt. of India also declared Hand Sanitizers and Masks (2ply & 3ply surgical masks and N95 masks) as an essential commodity under the EC Act, 1955 for prevention of hoarding, black marketing and profiteering of these items”.
Although the state FDA had submitted proposal vide letter dated 20.03.2020 to fix the ceiling price for Hand Sanitizers and Masks (2ply & 3ply surgical masks and N95 masks), the Ministry of Consumer Affairs vide notification dated 21.03.2020 fixed the ceiling prices of 2 ply mask, 3 ply mask and Sanitizers which would be effective till 30.06.2020, but the price ceiling for N95 mask was not fixed.
The letter explains the gravity of the situation saying “At present situation, requirements of PPE Kits, N-95 Mask and its equivalent mask are tremendously increased, so in the interest of public health and availability at reasonable rate to ensure sufficient availability, it is necessary to control the prices of these products also, as in the market various types of N-95, its equivalent mask and PPE kits are available for sale at various prices”.
The letter further says that consumers are not aware of the exact MRP and MRP printed is often exorbitant and that there is an urgent need to fix the prices of the N95 masks and seeks action on the same from the NPPA at top priority.
Ms Anjali Damania has tweeted about the letter here
After Ms Anjali Damania raised the issue of illegal sale of masks at exorbitant rates in the market, All Food and Drug Licence Holder Foundation (AFDLHF) also demanded strict action against manufacturers of the masks and said distribution should be done under the jurisdiction of the state government.
No order has been issued yet. Moneylife as well as other activists and NGOa have been fighting for this.
Ms Anjali Damania had gone public and exposed this raging scam in N95 masks last week.