DCCA warns against hiking medical mask, hand sanitiser prices

Azlan Othman

The Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) under the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) yesterday reminded all retailers and private clinics not to take advantage of the novel coronavirus outbreak by hiking prices for medical masks and hand sanitisers.

The department has begun monitoring costs and retail prices of these items, following numerous formal complaints received in the past few days on price hikes.

“During the inspections, retailers were requested to provide information, and advised to maintain affordability and fair prices, to ensure that the public has access to face masks and hand sanitisers,” the DCCA said in a statement.

“The prices of such items are to be displayed clearly at visible spots for the consumers’ knowledge and for monitoring purposes.

“Retailers may consider measures to ration the purchase of those items per consumer on a temporary basis, to ensure an adequate supply and to maintain price stability.”

Consumers are reminded to be considerate of others and respect the purchase rations, if temporary rations are set. The public has been advised not to stockpile the items, out of fairness to those who are really in need and unwell.

Appropriate enforcement actions may be taken against businesses that are marking up prices excessively without any justifiable reason, or stockpiling items to hike up prices.

Contact the DCCA through the Darussalam hotline at 123 to report unethical business conduct.