Ensure masks, sanitisers not sold above MRP: NPPA

NPPA asks state regulators to ensure masks, sanitisers not sold above MRP

Hyderabad: Medical staff wears masks as prevention against coronavirus, at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (PTI Photo)

The Centre on Friday asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure that masks and sanitisers are not sold above their maximum retail price.

The government has notified an order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand santizers as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020,” a Consumer Affairs Ministry statement said.

These items will remain under essential commodities segment till June-end, a move aimed at ensuring availability at reasonable prices and cracking down on hoarders/black marketeers, it added.

"The state drug controllers (SDCs) and food and drugs administrators (FDAs) of all the states and union territories have been requested to have a close vigilance in the market to check the sale of masks and sanitizers at the rates higher than the MRP," National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA), the drug pricing body, said in a statement.

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The Centre has also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizer and gloves.

The invocation of the Essential Commodities Act has empowered the Centre as well states to regulate the production, quality, distributions of masks and hand sanitiziers, and also to smoothen sale and availability of these items, and carry out operations against speculators.

An offence under the Essential Commodities Act comes with a jail term of upto seven years.

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