High Demand For Masks in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Shops Hike Rates

Health News
2 min read

With panic prevailing over coronavirus though only one new case has been confirmed in Telangana in the south, there has been a sudden and heavy surge in the demand for surgical and N95 respiratory masks. In both Bengaluru and Hyderabad, the prices have gone up owing to the acute demand. In fact, in many places, the prices of surgical masks have more than doubled. Shops that used to earlier sell surgical masks for Rs 8-10 per piece are now selling them at Rs 20-25.

N95 respiratory masks, meanwhile, continue to be sold at anywhere between Rs 220 and Rs 250 per piece.

Some of the pharmaceutical stores claim that there is a shortage of sterile masks due to the sudden demand. TNM checked with several surgical stores at Panjagutta, Ameerpet, Madhapur and Nampally in Hyderabad, and most of them had run out of stock within a day after news of a Hyderabad techie contracting coronavirus emerged. However, some dealers say that there is adequate stock but that the prices have been hiked due to the demand.

The N95 masks, which can be used for almost two months, are not made in Hyderabad, but sourced from distributors in Mumbai and Delhi. Most stores are worried that the distributors won't be able to meet the current demand for the masks.

A lot of people have been coming to the shop asking for N95 masks, many of them are techies. People are buying in bulk for themselves and their family members. Most of those who buy sterile masks also ask for hand sanitisers.
Ameerpet, P Amudhan, SS Surgical Stores

At the Apollo Medical Store outlets at Begumpet and Srinagar colonies, the stores have run out of hand sanitisers. "People are buying hand sanitisers in bulk. We have never run out of hand sanitisers before. We have placed an order, and the new stock will arrive tomorrow," the person-in-charge at one of the stores says.

However, denying reports of shortage, Jitender, dealer and owner of Heeka Medicals in Secunderabad, says, "There is no such shortage, we have the products in abundance, but they are valued at a higher price."

Similar is the scenario in Bengaluru. Sabarinath from Foster Pharma on St Mark's road says,"Before the outbreak of the disease, we used to hardly sell 20-30 sterile masks per day. Now we are almost selling 600-800 masks. For the past three days, we've been selling 3,000 masks per day."

(This story was first published in The News Minute reported by Mithun MK and has been republished with permission)

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