The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has fined eight firms in the country for overpricing Covid-19 equipment such as facemasks, hand sanitisers and gloves.
The eight firms are Maula Pharmacy, MaxiCare Pharmacy, Excel Pharmacy, City Pharmacy, Pharmaworld, Pharmalife Pharmacy, Lifestyle Pharmacy and CNC Health and have been given fines ranging from K500, 000 to K2 million.
CFTC Executive Director, James Kaphale, said in March 2020, the Commission received information indicating that there were some traders and companies that were taking advantage of the global coronavirus pandemic to engage in unfair trading practices.
Kaphale said from March 20 to 23, CFTC carried out an inspection of pharmaceutical companies and supermarkets to check compliance with the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act in the marketing and supply of essential personal protective equipment and supplies used in the management of Covid-19.
“The Commission imposed a fine of MK2 million to Maula Pharmacy Ltd for excessively pricing N95 face masks and also made an order to issue a warning to Maula Pharmacy for failure to furnish CFTC with information as required,”Kaphale said.
He added that CFTC has also imposed a fine of K2 million to MaxiCare Pharmacy for excessively pricing 400ml Romeo hand sanitisers.
Kaphale said an inspection conducted on March 21 2020 by the CFTC Secretariat showed that MaxiCare Pharmacy in Lilongwe were charging K14,500 for 400ml Romeo hand sanitisers whose benchmark price was around K5,000 representing an estimated margin of 190 percent.
He added that City Pharmacy has been fined K750 000 for excessively pricing hand sanitisers. CTFC has fined Pharmaworld Pharmacy K750 000 for excessively pricing gloves.
The consumer rights organization has also fined Pharmalife Pharmacy K750 000 for excessively pricing hand sanitisers, N95 face masks and gloves.
“The Commission imposed a fine of K500,000 to Lifestyle for excessively pricing 400 ml Romeo hand sanitisers and also made an order to issue a warning to the respondent for failure to furnish the commission with information as required.
“The Commission has also imposed a fine of K500,000 to CNC Health for excessive pricing in the supply of 400ml Romeo hand sanitisers, gloves and facemasks and also made an order to issue a warning to the respondent for failure to furnish the Commission with information as required,” Kaphale said.
As of Tuesday, Malawi had recorded a total of 101 confirmed cases of Covid-19 of whom four have died.