Government urged to introduce price controls amid price hikes

By Maeve Lee

The government are being called on to issue capping on items such as surgical masks and sanitisers, following price increases and “profiteering” by some businesses.

With the increase of coronavirus cases in Ireland, some businesses have increased prices on surgical face masks and hand sanitisers.

One chain, Hickey’s Pharmacy, were selling boxes of surgical face masks for €150 for 50 masks while a Londis store advertised small bottles of hand sanitiser for €9.95.

Images of the price tags circulated Twitter, with many people accusing pharmacies of profiteering.

Speaking at a press conference, RISE TD Paul Murphy condemned the “profiteering by suppliers and retailers of hand sanitisers and face masks”.

“Some of the most egregious examples have gone viral online like with a Londis which was charging €9.95 for a 30ml hand sanitizer or Hickey’s Pharmacy charging €150 for a packet of face masks,” said Mr Murphy.

“We need similar action to what has happened in France, where the government issued a decree capping the prices shops could sell hand gel at €2 for 50ml, €3 for 100ml, €5 for 300ml and a litre for €15. They also requisitioned all face masks, to ensure they were made available to those who need them most,” he said.

Hickey’s have since responded, claiming that these particular boxes contained 50 masks and that global demand has forced them to find alternative suppliers.

Taking to Facebook, the pharmacy chain said: “We are doing everything we can to source products at the lowest price possible and as manufacturer and supplier prices lower, we can assure you we will be passing these reductions onto our customers.” 

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