Pharmacies hike mask prices with growing demands
By Charles Lotara
Pharmacies in Juba have hiked the prices of masks as demand soars as the citizenry responds to the government awareness creation to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Face masks, which were until the outbreak of coronavirus, not widely used have become one of the essential weapons the ministry of health is using to control the spread of the virus. and local pharmacies a consequently, pharmacies have taken advantage of the high demand to raise the cost acquiring one.
The price of a white mask has shot up from SSP60 to SSP500, while the sky-blue masks are retailing at SSP400 SSP, up from SSP50.
Asked about the increased uptake of masks, Nyeko Richard, a medical officer who runs Family Pharmacy in Gudele 1 told The City Review Weekly said people have realized the importance of wearing masks and taking responsibility of their health.
“The price increase depends on demand by people. We used to sell the masks at cheaper prices. At that time just a few people were interested in them. That has now changed. People ask for masks regularly.
“I think it’s actually an indication that people are taking health issues more seriously than before. They are assisting the government to help control the spread of the ravaging virus,” he said.
A female clinical attendant at Lou Clinic in the same estate said the demand for face masks is high that at the pharmacy frequently runs out of stock.
“People mind very little about the prices. It is a critical time where life comes above anything else, and the citizens are doing whatever it takes to keep safe from the virus which has already arrived in South Sudan,” she said.
But not everyone is impressed with the development in mask prices. Those hardly afford pharmaceutical masks have resorted to home-made masks to keep their wallets in shape.
“Most businesspeople have taken advantage of this virus to unjustifiably increase commodity prices. Pharmacies and clinics have become part of them. How can someone who is not employed afford a mask at such prices? That’s incredible,” businesswoman Achiro Salma commented.
Jackson Okello, an open learning community education facilitator rubbished the idea of buying face masks from pharmacies and clinics saying those who do so are mentally deranged.
“A mask is sold at that high prices yet it used only once. That means a person must take that amount of money if he or she wants to ensure constant protection form the coronavirus, which to me seems a little stupid. Masks can even be made at home, why spend that much money?” he questioned.
In a related story, several residents have expressed skepticism over sky-blue masks allegedly imported from China. There have been reservations the hygienic levels of the masks from China.