Malicious sales during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the world continues to battle the spread of coronavirus, protective masks are now an essential item, not just for hospitals, but for everyday life! The result? Protective gear across the world is in short supply, even for doctors and nurses who are working day and night to fight this disease. And while suppliers are working double-time to keep up with demand, others are taking advantage of the crisis we all find ourselves in. It’s time for e-commerce sites and governments to step in.

Go to any e-commerce website right now and you’ll see prices on protective gear have risen sharply. For example, a set of 10 normal surgical masks on ebay can cost up to £70 which is outrageous if you think that before the pandemic you could buy them for £5-10 per set.

Thankfully, many e-commerce  websites have warned sellers not to raise prices to unreasonable levels, otherwise they could be kicked off the website. Remember the guy who bought up nearly 20,000 bottles of hand sanitizer – cleaning out local stores – to try and profit from the panic? After just 300 sales, Amazon de-listed him and he ended up donating everything he had to local good causes. 

Sellers are required sellers to abide by Amazon’s Fair Pricing Policy when they list an item on their website, which prohibits selling items for unreasonable higher prices than the “recent prices offered on or off Amazon.” Until now, the company warned quite a few mask sellers they had violated the rule. But it does not seem that this is sufficient to deal with the situation we are in. 

As such, if private companies do not clamp down enough it needs to be governments that step in. Italy, one of the countries facing one of the worst outbreaks in Europe, has recently opened an investigation into “insane” online prices for medical supplies, without mentioning the names of any sites. If the issue continues more countries are likely to do the same. 

 That is the right thing to do! This is an issue that directly affects people and hospitals who are in desperate need for supplies. Right now we need to defend those on the frontline of this crisis. And that means giving them the equipment they need. It is scandalous that doctors and nurses across the NHS have been begging for even the most basic protective gear.  

What kind of measures do you think could have been taken to secure protective gear for our doctors and nurses? 

Source/Ref: wired article 

 

https://www.wired.com/story/covid-19-amazon-curb-face-mask-price-gouging/