The price of N95 respirator masks bought by government agencies in September has shot up over 250% in four months from September 2019 till the middle of May 2020, yet the price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has decided not to put a price ceiling on the same saying it "may disincentivise domestic manufacturing."
The masks were bought by the government at Rs 12.25 apiece, including taxes in September last year, which went on to cost Rs 17.33 in January 2020, Rs 42 by March 31 (2020), and up to Rs 63 by the middle of May (2020), according to a report in The Times of India.
The MRP list, according to the news report, was for N95 masks of four producers comprising Magnum and Venus Safety, which are the two largest Indian manufacturers.
NPPA claimed prices had been reduced after its May 21 memorandum "advising" producers/suppliers/importers "to maintain parity in the price for nongovernment procurements and to make available the same at reasonable prices."
HLL Lifecare has been procuring the masks for Rs 60 plus taxes, an increase of Rs 20, which would cost the government crores of rupees extra, the report stated.