Price controls on PPE and pharma products needed

Alan Kelly TD
10 March 2020
  • Implement Section 61 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 that deals with a ‘state of emergency affecting supply of a product’.
  • Also seek to implement Section 62 “Power to fix maximum prices during state of emergency”

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has called for the implementation of consumer protection rules to control and freeze prices on personal protective equipment (PPE) and pharmaceutical products as some profiteers seek to exploit public concerns over the Coronavirus epidemic.

Deputy Kelly said:

“We have seen examples in the last twenty four hours of retailers that have recently restocked items like hand sanitiser and protective face masks charging absolutely ridiculous prices for what are normally quite basic items. 

“This kind of carry on is exploiting people who are genuinely afraid of the impact that covid-19 will have on their lives. We have laws that can immediately tackle these disgusting practices and ensure people’s concerns about the supply of goods are addressed.

“Section 61 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 deals with a ‘state of emergency affecting supply of a product’.

“If the Government is of opinion that abnormal circumstances prevail in relation to the supply of a product, it may by order declare that a state of emergency affecting the supply of that product exists. An emergency order remains in force for a term specified in the order but not exceeding 6 months.

 “Under section 62 (“Power to fix maximum prices during state of emergency”), when an emergency order is in force in respect of a product, the Government may by order fix the maximum price at which that product may be supplied by a trader to consumers. We should look at implementing this now for designated lists of PPE equipment and over the counter medication where requires.

“I would also call on representative bodies like the Irish Pharmacy Union and RGDATA to call on their members to act responsibly in response to public concerns about Covid-19, and that price hikes for essential medical items that people need like paracetamol won’t be needlessly increased in the coming days and weeks.”

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