With the onset of COVID-19 in Bangladesh pharmacies are hiking up the price of masks and hand sanitizers as well as stocking up and hoarding these products unethically
Rapid Action Battalion
Mobile courts of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) are raiding pharmacies for overcharging customers for surgical masks and hand sanitizers in the midst of fears over COVID-19.
Sarwar Alam, executive magistrate of RAB, conducted the raid in the Sir Salimullah Medical College hospital area starting at 12:30pm on Tuesday.
After conducting the raid, Sarwar said: “Eight different pharmacies have been fined Tk16 lakh as they were selling surgical masks and hand sanitizers at a high price.
“The wholesale price for one mask is between Tk10 and Tk15, but they were selling each mask for a price of Tk60-100,” he said, adding that retailers were demanding much higher prices.
In the meantime, RAB-2 also conducted another drive in the College Gate area near Shyamoli, headed by Executive Magistrate Md Akhtaruzzaman.
Nine pharmacies and surgical item sellers of that area were fined Tk8 lakh.
RAB-2 Company Commander Mohiuddin Faruque said: “We are basically checking whether they (pharmacies) are selling hand sanitizers and face masks at a fair price or stocking them unethically and refusing to sell the items to customers.”
“We also cordoned 8 to 10 pharmacies for hoarding face masks and hand sanitizers,” he added saying: “The drives are still going on.”
Drive by DNCC and DSCC
Mobile courts of Dhaka North and South city corporations conducted drives in different parts of Dhaka.
Two executive magistrates of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) inspected 1,000 shops in Mitford Road, Nayabazar, Babubazar, Chawkbazar and New Market, and 13 establishments were fined a total of Tk1,46,500 for selling surgical masks at hiked prices.
The court of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) conducted drives in Gulshan, Banani and Mohakhali areas, and three pharmacies were fined a total of Tk25,000 for the same offence.
One jailed in Narayanganj
One person has been jailed for a month and eight pharmacies were fined over Tk1 lakh by a mobile court.
The raid was ordered by Narayanganj deputy commissioner.
The pharmacies were fined for selling surgical masks and hand sanitizers at a high price and hoarding or stocking up unethically, while Biswajit Das, a pharmacy employee was imprisoned for asking higher prices than normal.
Raid in Savar
A mobile court fined Lazz Pharma in Savar, Tk1 lakh for selling masks at a high price.
Assistant Commissioner (land) of Savar and Executive Magistrate Abdullah Al Mahfuz conducted the drive.