At a time when pharmacies are running out of or charging exorbitant prices for face masks, the commonly used personal protective gear against coronavirus, a pharmacy shop in Kochi in Kerala is selling masks just for Rs 2 to the neediest.
Cochin Surgicals, a surgical store owned by Kochi residents Thasleem and Nadheem, has sold more than 5,000 face masks in just two days for Rs 2, while others are selling at Rs 25.
Nadheem, the co-owner of the shop, told ANI: “We have sold around 5,000 masks at Rs 2 each in two days. We decided to sell masks at a reasonable price especially to the common people like hospital staff and students.”
Thasleem PK, co-owner of Cochin Surgicals, said: “We have been selling masks at ₹2 for the last 8 years. But now, the rate has gone up everywhere. We bought the masks at Rs 8 or Rs 10 and are selling at Rs 2, while others are selling at Rs 25.”
A total of 27 people have been tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala, among who three have been cured. As many as 12,740 persons are still under observation in the state for chances of COVID-19 infection.
Across India, confirmed novel coronavirus cases have risen to 128, the Union Ministry of Family and Health Welfare said on Tuesday.
As the coronavirus scare rises, pharmacies have jacked up the prices of masks and sanitizers, despite the Central government invoking the Disaster Management Act 2005 to allow the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to regulate the availability and prices of surgical and protective masks, hand sanitizers and gloves.
“Kerala is going through a one-of-a-kind situation now. We don’t know what’s going to happen, maybe tomorrow I might contract the disease. When we heard there was a shortage of masks, especially for hospital staff, we suddenly decided to sell all the stock we had at a low price. And within two days, our stock has been completed. Most was sold to medical teams and hospitals,” The News Minute quoted Thasleem as saying.
The duo hopes their act inspires others to stop hiking the prices of essential commodities in the larger interest of public good.