Kerala government has released a list of medical items required for treating COVID-19, designating them as essential items and fixing maximum retail prices for them. This list includes paraphernalia like PPE kits, masks, gloves, oxygen masks and oximeters, among others.
"In view of the increasing number of COVID cases all over the country, Government of India... has directed state government to take necessary steps to ensure the availability of the medical items to common man at fair prices. Health and Family Welfare Department has forwarded a proposal for fixing the price of the following medical items and also requested to declare the same as essential articles under the provision of the Kerala Essential Articles Control Act, 1986," the state government said in an order on Friday.
Government has examined the matter in detail and are pleased to declare the following medical items as essential articles at the maximum retail price fixed herein, it further added, listing the capped prices for 15 items.
Kerala government has capped the price for PPE kits at Rs 273 per unit, whereas N95 masks and triple-layer masks will be sold in the state at Rs 22 and Rs 3.90, respectively. Face shields prices have been capped at Rs 21, those for disposable aprons at Rs 12, and for surgical gowns at Rs 65. Examination glove prices have been capped at Rs 5.75.
Hand sanitiser bottles with 500ml, 200ml and 100ml capacity will be available at Rs 192, Rs 98 and Rs 55, respectively, in the state. A pair of sterile gloves has been capped at Rs 15.
Prices for NRB masks, oxygen masks, flowmeter with humidifier, and fingertip pulse oximeter have been capped at Rs 80, Rs 54, Rs 1,520, and Rs 1,500, respectively.
Complaints about hospitals charging exorbitant prices for treating COVID-19 patients and wrongly billing for the services provided have been raised across the country.
Meanwhile, Kerala extended the lockdown in the state till May 23 amid high positivity rate. The restrictions were scheduled to be lifted on May 16.