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Competition commission to crackdown on inflated healthcare product prices

Competition commission to crackdown on inflated healthcare product prices

Business Reporter

RETAILERS and pharmacies have been warned that they will no longer be allowed to exploit desperate and panicking consumers by inflating prices for hand sanitizers, immune boosters, gloves and masks.

Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) spokesperson, Dina Gowases, stated that the commission, through complaints and the general public, learned that some retailers and pharmacies have artificially hiked prices of essential healthcare products in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

She added that the commission assessed the prices of masks, hand sanitizers and immune boosters and found that the prices of these products have sky rocketed.

Price increases range between N$104 to N$200 at various pharmacies. Hand sanitizer price analysis established that before COVID-19, one would pay N$20 for 100ml bottle of sanitizer but post COVID-19 the prices have increased to N$44 and N$75.

 

pharmacies exploit desperate panicking consumers inflating prices
OVER PRICED: Picture for illustrative purposes only. Photo: Contributed

 

Masks pre-COVID-19 cost N$10, but now cost N$75.

In terms of the percentage, the commission has observed that pricing for immune boosters have doubled with an average of 92%, sanitizers 300% and masks 31%.

Gowases stated that the competition act No.2 of 2003 prohibits acts of excessive pricing and collusive price fixing by retailers.

“All retailers of these essential products are therefore warned against exploiting consumers through artificially inflated prices. The commission urges consumers to during this period of crisis, report to the commission any unusual increases in prices,” Gowases stated.

In order to enforce the stability of prices, the commission under it’s Enforcement, Exemptions and Cartel division, has set up a dedicated team to ensure prioritisation of complaints on all essential healthcare, and hygiene products during this critical time.

 

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