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DTI Cebu reiterates warning vs overprice sale of disposable face masks

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz February 06,2020 - 02:48 PM

 

Staff from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) consumer protection office conducts monitoring of pharmacies and other retail outlets selling face masks. /DTI photo)

CEBU CITY—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial office reiterates its warning against the overpricing of disposable face masks.

“Remember, the suggested retail price (SRP) for disposable face masks is from P1.10 to P8.00 only based on the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2020-0005,” DTI-Cebu reminded consumers on its Facebook page.

The Department of Health has declared a prize freeze on the disposable face masks in response to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China. People infected with the virus have been reported in other countries, including the Philippines.

DTI Cebu called on those who bought disposable face masks beyond the suggested retail price to report this to the agency.

However, buyers have to send DTI proof of transaction such as official receipt, invoice or delivery receipt so they could issue a notice of violation and penalize the seller.

DTI had been monitoring pharmacies and hardware stores, which typically sell masks, to prevent any overpricing. The agency has also posted a statement on its Facebook page warning online and ambulant sellers of disposable face masks who might be selling these products at a much higher price.

“.. the Department of Trade and Industry is on alert for profiteers, hoarders, cartels and the like for taking advantage of the situation by selling face masks at an unfair or unconscionable price.”

While there is a shortage in the supply of disposable face masks, some street vendors have been selling face masks made from cloth at P50.

Enterprising individuals are also offering cloth masks at around P30 on Facebook Marketplace.

Many people have resorted to using face masks as a way to prevent from being infected by the nCoV virus.

In its interim guidance issued on January 29, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the wearing of a medical mask as one of the prevention measures to limit the spread of certain respiratory diseases, including 2019-nCoV, in the affected areas.

But WHO clarified that the use of a mask alone would be insufficient to provide an adequate level of protection and other equally relevant measures should be adopted.

“If masks are to be used, this measure must be combined with hand hygiene and other IPC (infection and prevention control) measures to prevent the human-to-human transmission of 2019-nCov,” WHO stressed.

Earlier, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said the DTI has been looking for ways to increase the supply of N88 surgical masks.

As of February 5, there are around 24,554 confirmed new cases of 2019 nCoV infection, most of these (24,363) were reported in China, according to the WHO. /rcg

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