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Pharmacies hike face masks prices in Rivers

Pharmacists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and its environs, have hiked the prices of face masks from N150 to N500 and N300 to N1,000 for the large size.

The over 200 per cent increase in price is coming less than 24 hours after the state governor, Nyesom Wike, announced that it was now compulsory for everybody in the state to wear face mask in the public.

Our correspondent, who visited some of the pharmacies on Saturday, noticed that operators of the facilities were making brisk business from the sale of face masks.

One of the operators, who simply identified himself as Echefu, said the demand for the items had increased, forcing a sharp increase of the price.

Echefu, who operates a pharmacy at D-Line in Port Harcourt, explained that the tailors, who sold face masks in wholesale, gave them to him at N400 each, adding that his profit was only N100 per face mask.

 “For now, I buy one Ankara face mask for N400 and sell for N500. Again, you will notice that the goods are scarce; that is another reason why the price is high,” he said.

At Llyod Pharmacy on Agip Road in Port Harcourt, one of the attendants said each of the foreign and disposable face masks sold for N500.

Unlike the Ankara face masks, which could be washed and used again, the foreign face masks are used for only a day before they are thrown away.

The owner of Guzy Pharmacy along Agip Road, presented two types of Ankara face masks to our correspondent at N500 and N1,000 respectively depending on the size preferred. It was a similar situation at Medi Pharmacy and JustLink Pharmacy along Iwofe Road in Obio/Akpor LGA.

A Port Harcourt resident, Ikechukwu Johnson, expressed anger over the sudden sharp increase in the prices of face masks.

“The cost of production of one Ankara face mask cannot go beyond N50 or N60. Why would somebody sell one Ankara face mask for N500? Even the disposable face mask is sold for N500.

“So, if I buy one for that amount and use it for one day, I am expected to dispose it and buy another one for N500; that is unreasonable,” Johnson said.

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