Leading manufacturers and importers of N-95 masks have reduced prices by up to 47 percent after regulator NPPA stepped in to ensure the availability of this respiratory protection device at affordable rates in the country, the government said on Monday.
N-95 masks were earlier being sold in the market for Rs 150 to 300 per unit and after the advisory by the the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), prices have been cut.
To address the issue of higher prices of the N-95 masks, the NPPA intervened to ensure their availability at affordable prices in the country, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in a statement on Monday.
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"NPPA issued an advisory on May 21, 2020 to all the manufacturers/ importers/ suppliers of the N-95 masks to maintain parity in prices for non-government procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices," it added.
The NPPA has also submitted before the Bombay High Court on the plea on bringing price cap on the protective device that it is looking at mismatch in the demand-supply of N-95 masks in the country and has advised manufacturers, importers and suppliers to cut prices voluntarily, the statement said.
"After issuing such an advisory, major manufacturers/ importers of N-95 masks have reduced their prices significantly up to 47 percent leading to availability of N-95 masks in the country at affordable prices," it added.
As reported by other manufacturers and importers of N-95 masks, it is expected that they will also follow the advice of the government and roll down the prices in the larger public interest, the statement said.
"Government is striving to ensure uninterrupted supply of N-95 masks in adequate quantity in the country. For this, the government is procuring largest chunk of the N-95 masks directly from the manufacturers/ importers/ suppliers at bulk rates," the statement said.
The government has notified N-95 masks as an essential commodity under Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
Earlier the NPPA had directed all state governments to ensure sufficient availability of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitisers and gloves at prices not exceeding the maximum retail price printed on the pack size.
It also directed state drug controllers/food and drug administrations to take appropriate actions against the hoarders and black marketers of N-95 masks, it added.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.