No export, bulk sale of face masks

MUSCAT, FEB 26 – Manufacturers and distributors have been told to sell products like masks and hand sanitisers only in the local market, that too not in bulk. The ban by the Directorate-General of Pharmacy and Drug Control follows reports that shortage of face masks and hand sanitisers in private pharmacies in the wake of coronavirus cases reported in the country. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Mohammed bin Hamdan al Rubaie, Director-General of Pharmacy and Drug Control, officials from the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) and managers of private companies.

“These products, whether produced by local companies or imported, must comply with international specifications and standards. The companies should not take advantage of the situation by raising prices,” Al Rubaie said, after the meeting. The meeting discussed the availability of masks and hand sanitisers, including necessary regulations for their continued availability in pharmacies and shops at reasonable prices, while adhering to the necessary standard specifications.

The directorate said that a circular has already been issued following information that some people and institutions are taking advantage of the situation and are now buying these products in large quantities and exporting them. The pharmaceutical establishments assured all-out efforts for the availability of the products to the general public without any increase in the prices.