Urgent need to fix ceiling prices of N95, PPE Kits: Maha FDA to NPPA
Mumbai: The Commissioner of Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Arun Unhale has recently written to the apex price-fixing authority, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) seeking to fix the price for the sale of N95 masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits.
Three months ago, on March 20, the Maharashtra FDA had submitted a proposal to fix the ceiling price for Hand Sanitizer and Masks (2ply & 3ply surgical masks and N95 masks). The Ministry of Consumer Affairs fixed the ceiling prices of 2 ply mask, 3 ply mask, and sanitizers and it will be effective till 30.06.2020. However, the price of the N95 mask is not fixed.
With a rapid boost in demand of N-95 masks and its equivalent, manufacturers have been charging exorbitant prices for these essential commodities. The letter clearly mentions the same quoted as "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 a 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."
"In the current situation of COVID-19 outbreak consumers are not aware about the exact MRP of the above items and sometimes the MRP printed by the manufacturer is exorbitant and common public, private doctors, health workers and paramedical staff in private hospitals are forced to pay the said higher printed prices, " the letter added.
Highlighting the concern, in his letter, Unhale stated; "In the interest of public health and availability at a reasonable rate to ensure sufficient availability, it is an urgent need to fix the ceiling prices of N-95 mask, its equivalent mask, and PPE Kits on top priority to overcome the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country."
Notably, In view of the outbreak of COVJD- 19 in the country, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, enacted the Disaster Management Act, 2005 throughout the country and directed to all States and Union Territories to take steps to ensure sufficient availability of Surgical and protective mask, hand sanitizers and Gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail prices printed on it.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, also declared Hand Sanitizers and Marks (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.
The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India appointed Nodal Officers to regulate the production, quality, and distribution for the supply of masks, melt-blown fabrics, and other textiles supplies related to Covid-19 for the supply of all types of medical protective textiles to the central government required to combat COVID-19.