Between the bushfires and the coronavirus, P2 masks have become a must-have accessory for many Aussies.
Mask wholesalers noticed this trend have raised their prices accordingly, according to a complaint made to the ACCC by the Australian Pharmacy Guild.
The Guild reported a price hike of $2.50 to $38.50 per mask. That’s an increase of a whopping 1500%.
Pharmacies are then forced to pass this increase on to consumers, the Guild said.
The complaint related to the practices of medical wholesaler Livingstone. The company put out a statement on its website claiming that their mask stock had been 90% depleted due to customers buying large quantities to resell.
“We can no longer afford to have this situation and have adjusted the prices and set daily quantity limit to deter scalpers,” it said.
The company said it has ordered more masks from suppliers. It is also offering free or heavily-reduced masks to people with medical conditions who cannot otherwise afford them.
State governments have advised that a properly-fitted P2 mask can be beneficial for certain people experiencing respiratory issues from bushfire smoke.
For the coronavirus, P2 masks are less useful. As there has been no human-to-human transmissions of the coronavirus in Australia, the risk of infection is still very low. This means the masks are not recommended, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told ABC RN Breakfast.
If you’ve been priced out of the market for coronavirus-resistant P2 masks, it seems you didn’t really need one in the first place.