KZN pharmacy admits to excessive pricing of face masks

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A pharmacy based in KwaZulu-Natal has admitted to excessive pricing of face masks in a consent agreement with the Competition Commission.

The Commission received information relating to the inflated prices of face masks by the Mandini Pharmacy in March.

“A Commission investigation found that Mandini Pharmacy ordered face masks from a supplier with the intention to resell to its customers. It did not sell face masks before March 2020 but decided to source face masks due to the sudden demand and panic-buying brought on by the state of national disaster,” the Commission said.
 
The Commission found that the gross profit margin in respect of the face masks for March 2020 is a contravention of section 8(1)(a) of the Act read together with Regulation 4 of the Consumer Protection Regulations.
 
Mandini pharmacy has admitted that it has engaged in the conduct of excessive pricing which amounts to a contravention of section 8(1)(a) of the Act.

 This is the Commission’s seventh consent agreement – relating to alleged excessive pricing in the context of COVID-19 – approved as an order of the Tribunal.

 The consent agreement has been confirmed as an order of the Tribunal.
 
In terms of its agreement with the Commission, the pharmacy agrees to:

  • Immediately desist from the excessive pricing conduct; 
  • Reduce its net margin on facial masks with immediate effect; and   
  • Donate essential goods amounting to R300.00 (the total value obtained from the “overcharge” for face masks) to Mandeni child welfare situated in Mandini.

Consumers should bring their concerns to the attention of regulators. The National Consumer Commission (NCC). The toll-free number is 0800 014 880 or 012 428 700 

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