Coronavirus: Face Masks And Sanitizers Brought Under The Essential Commodities Act

New Delhi:Taking big step to stop black-marketing central govt categorises face masks and sanitizers as essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act 1955.

The government on Friday declared masks, including N95, and hand sanitizers as ‘essential commodities’ The decision comes in the wake of the coronavirus scare leading to shortages and black marketing of these items.These items will remain under essential commodities segment till June-end.The government has notified an order to declare masks (2 ply and 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand santizers as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020.

Govt issued this order after request from The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA). NPPA on Friday asked states and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure that masks and sanitisers are not sold above their maximum retail price. “The state drug controllers (SDCs) and food and drugs administrators (FDAs) of all the states and union territories have been requested to have a close vigilance in the market to check the sale of masks and sanitizers at the rates higher than the MRP,” the drug pricing authority said in a tweet.

NPPA had earlier written to chief secretaries of states, principal secretaries (health) and state drug controllers, urging them to closely monitor the production and availability of APIs and formulations to prevent black marketing and hoarding in their states or UTs. NPPA Chairman Shubhra Singh on Thursday met representatives of pharmaceutical industry associations on the issue of availability of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

“It is assured that sufficient stock of critical APIs and formulations is available to meet the requirements of the situation arising out of COVID-19,” NPPA had said in a tweet. NPPA is an independent regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.

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