Thiruvananthapuram: A mask that costs Rs 15 in a government institution can cross Rs 100 when purchased from a private institution. As the spread of the coronavirus intensifies, so do the prices of high-demand pulse oximeters and PPE kits. There is no one to control when the same companies charge different prices.
The N95 mask was priced at Rs 15 yesterday at the SAT Drug House, a government institution located on the campus of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. The company pays Rs 14.80. The company has demanded Rs 17.80 for the mask from today.
The same companies charge around Rs 40 for giving masks to medical stores and other businesses. They sell for up to Rs. Some charge even more. The N95 mask can be washed and used up to 5 times. But counterfeiting in the name of the N95 mask has also multiplied. The original mask will have the company name, batch number and expiration date.
With the suggestion to use a double mask in combination with a surgical mask and a cloth mask, the price of a surgical mask of Rs 2 went up sharply. Many prices in many places. The pulse oximeter at the drug house was earlier Rs 550. 950 now as the companies have turned the tide. Oximeters were available for Rs 1200 outside but now it has crossed Rs 2500 within days.
PPE kits cost between Rs 250 and Rs 270 at the drug house. Health workers use a kit for a maximum of 4 hours. Will be abandoned later. The high court had alleged that private hospitals charge up to Rs 17,000 for a two-day PPE kit. The government has also given permission to charge Rs 1,000 for a PPE kit. The rate is part of the Kovid treatment package for 179 private hospitals covered under the Karunya Health Care Scheme (CASP).