MUMBAI: Concerned with price hikes, poor quality and shortages of crucial medical devices, the government took a series of measures on Friday, including making surgical masks (two and three-layer and N95 masks) and hand sanitizers `essential commodities, under the Essential Commodities Act. The government also invoked the Disaster Management Act to ensure their price regulation and availability .
This comes with the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country, and the need to prevent others from getting infected. The ministry of consumer affairs invoked the Essential Commodities Order to regulate quality, production and distribution of these med devices, which will be in force till June 30, according to a notification. While in another development, Disaster Management Act has been invoked to ensure price regulation and availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizers and gloves.
TOI had flagged sub-standard and poor quality products, and sudden rise in their prices, in a story published on March 13. Not only have prices of medical masks and hand sanitizers shot up, the domestic market is flooded with sub-standard and low-quality products as an unscrupulous few try to make a fast buck.
Significantly, drug prices regulator NPPA has requested the ministry of health and family welfare to notify these items as `drugs with immediate effect, so as to regulate their availability and prices, in public interest. Once these medical devices are notified as `drugs, they will be subject to price caps fixed under the purview of Drug Price Control Order.
Consumables and disposables are a largely unregulated and unorganised industry, with most players in the MSME sector. In the case of PPE (personal protective equipment) including masks and gloves, therRead More – Source