NEW DELHI: The shortage of hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning supplies and disinfectants, such as Dettol, continues in several parts of the country due to panic buying and hoarding for profiteering.
In the Northeast, including Assam, pharmaceutical companies reported a whopping 1000% increase in the sale for such items in the last two weeks.
Dipesh Kar, zonal head of a company, which supplies sanitizers said, “There are no stocks. The rush was sparked off by government’s advisory on the precautionary measures to be taken.”
While warning hoarders, Assam’s junior health minister Pijush Hazarika said there was a shortage of masks and hand sanitizer in the market. Chemist shops across Punjab and Haryana and Chandigarh have also run out of stocks. Manufacturers have not been able to replenish stocks to meet spike in demand.
“The N95 masks, which costs Rs 45, is unavailable. If available, they sell for Rs 250, while triple-layer masks costing Rs 5 is now Rs 40 per piece,’’ said a leading chemist.
In Bihar, over 20 of the 38 districts have reported a shortage of masks with medical firms reporting ‘no stock’.
“Panic purchases by people started some 10 days ago and we have to order fresh stocks of sanitizers every three to four days as against once every month in the past,” said Dr Ranjan Saxena, who runs a homoeopathy clinic and shop at Six Number Market in Bhopal.
“Sale of the homoeopathy medicine recommended by Department of Ayush too has gone up,” said Dr Saxena.
The picture is no different in Kolkata.
“A medicine shop asked me to order anything but sanitizers and masks. I went to a dozen shops but it didn’t help,” said homemaker Ratna Deb from DumDum.