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Maharashtra’s decision to cap prices of masks irks medical equipment makers

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on October 22, 2020 Published on October 22, 2020

Maharashtra Government’s last week decision of capping prices of the N95 and other masks, which provides a degree of protection against Covid virus, has not gone well with the manufacturers and medical equipment traders. Some have decided to withdraw their stocks from the market.

On Tuesday, the Public Health Department by a government resolution set the MRP plus GST prices of the masks between ₹ 3 and ₹ 49. Depending on the quality of the material and technical features, the prices have been set.

However, trade sources said that the prices are unaffordable as the manufacturing costs have also increased due to the pandemic, therefore some manufacturers have decided to withdraw their goods as they do want any legal trouble with the government.

President of the Maharashtra chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Avinash Bhondwe, said that the prices set by the State Government are attractive, but they should be realistic also as there is a basic cost, which goes into making such masks. The prices should affordable to the doctors, masses as well as to the manufacturers, he said.

Since March, the IMA (Maharashtra) was following up the State Government seeking a reduction in the prices of the face masks and PPE kits. The State Government officers kept on promising that the prices would be reduced. The IMA (Maharashtra) in a proposal had said the prices of the masks are exorbitant and therefore they should be capped at prices, which were extant on December 31, 2019,

But as the pandemic started to spread, the prices also shot up. Enough attention was never paid to this issue leading to the sale of spurious masks at exorbitant rates in the market. On October 15, IMA (Maharashtra) met with the Health Secretary of Maharashtra and again raised the issue about prices after, which they were reduced, he said.

Such prices look good on paper, but are not reasonable. It could lead to black marketing, Bhondwe said.

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Published on October 22, 2020
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