PUNE: The Food and Drug Administration, Maharashtra has directed chemists against over-the-counter sale of N95 masks, among other items, to check hoarding.
In a notification issues, the FDA asked chemists to sell the N95 mask and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits only against doctor’s prescription. The administration also warned chemists against overcharging for these items.
“The objective here is to ensure that there is no hoarding of N95 masks and PPE kits and people are not overcharged. The move will also rein in panic-buying,” state FDA commissioner Arun Unhale said.
Anil Belkar, secretary of Chemists’ Association of Pune District, said, “We have already told our chemists to abide by the selling norms as stipulated by the FDA. However, N95 masks are not included in the drug category, hence, can be sold even at departmental stores and malls.
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We want FDA officials to look into this issue. Besides, there is no mention of a maximum retail price on such masks. Wholesalers and retailers sell them as per the cost involved in purchase charge. We have told our members to not indulge in overcharging.”
Sushil Shah president of the Chemists Association of Pune District said, “Though not a single positive case has been reported in Maharashtra, the demand for N95 masks, sanitisers, thermometers and gloves has increased to an extent that we are encountering a sudden shortage. If the trend continues, the shortage will only become severe.”