Saturday, June 12, 2021

in-focus

New wave of infections pushes up price of masks


The new wave of Covid-19 infections has pushed up the price of face masks, with boxes of 50 pieces being sold for Bt150 apiece – far higher than the regulated price of Bt125 per box of 50 pieces.

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The Internal Trade Department has set the price of face masks at Bt2.5 per piece.

Some merchants are importing masks from China and Vietnam at between Bt30 and Bt90 per box of 50 pieces, which they are splitting into packs of five or 20 pieces before retailing them at Bt10 and Bt40 per pack.

Some retailers are even charging as much as Bt33 for packs of five. Their excuse is that they have to buy from middlemen now that factories have reduced their production capacity after the first round of the outbreak subsided.

"We buy face masks from agents at Bt2.50 apiece and have to sell them at Bt4 or Bt5 apiece to make a profit,” retailers say.

Rawat Chindapol, chief executive officer of face-mask manufacturer Misslily MD Supply, said there are two types of masks in the market – surgical masks which fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction, and ordinary cloth masks which are priced based on cost.

Masks also vary in quality and effectiveness.

“There are 17 manufacturers producing masks under the Internal Trade Department’s requirements. Domestic demand should be easily met with each manufacturer producing 5 million pieces daily,” he said.

Published : January 11, 2021

By : The Nation