Black marketing and Non-Standardized PPE Kits Are Sabotaging War Against Corona
Corona epidemic is spreading
like wildfire, no region or country is unaffected by the havoc that corona is
causing. Developed countries that boasted of
world-class healthcare facilities are also bearing the brunt.
In countries like the USA, UK, Italy, etc. the death toll due to corona is tens
Every country is making
efforts to equip their healthcare workers with the best equipment and
facilities. However, as the world has never seen a pandemic of such proportion
in recent times, everyone seems to be ill-equipped to counter the corona.
Governments are grappling
with the shortages of crucial pieces of equipment such as PPE kits, surgical
masks, goggles, gloves, sanitizers, etc. As there is exponential worldwide
demand and healthcare equipment manufacturing industry is unable to meet this
surge in demand, black-marketing and profiteering have started across the
world. Even non-healthcare manufacturers
have started producing this equipment in a bid to exploit this situation.
The PPE kits are crucial for
healthcare workers to protect them from getting infected while caring for COVID-19
infected patients. A PPE consists of a gown/body
protection suit, gloves, facial, facemask, eye goggles, hair cover, and foot
cover. Though this has been used in the past, it has now gained fame like never
Hospitals now have to ensure that all healthcare personnel should use
PPE kits even at the centers that are not treating covid19 patients, as there
is a risk of getting infected through asymptomatic patients.
We have witnessed cases where proper PPE precautions were not taken and multiple
staff members were quarantined and in some cases, even the hospitals were
Single healthcare worker requires multiple PPE kits a day, this adds up
to the cost of treatment and hospitals are forced to charge the cost of the PPE
to the patient but this has received a lot of criticism.
Furthermore, the shortage of PPE's and other equipment is seen as a
business opportunity and many unscrupulous manufacturers and distributors
started reaching out to Health institutions offering these kits at exorbitant
prices. Masks that were previously available for as low as one rupee are being
marketed at many times that cost. Given the urgent need and very short supply,
hospitals are left with no choice but to pay over-inflated prices for acquiring
them. Though hospitals in a state of urgency are acquiring these kits, the
quality of these kits is questionable as they might not be following the BIS
On a brighter side, a lot of renowned companies from multiple industries
have now stepped in to help deal with the shortage. These are Non-traditional
health equipment manufacturers but, given their market standing they can be
trusted with producing quality sanitizers, gloves, masks, PPE, etc. to help
with the shortage. Though it is encouraging to see everyone stepping in and
doing their bit in this time of national crisis the cost of gloves, masks, and
other components of the PPE are still very high.
COVID 19 pandemic has already taken significant health and economic toll
on the population and healthcare systems across the world have been
overburdened due to lack of facilities. We need to ensure that the situation
should not decorate further.
The government must put a price cap on the cost of essential items that
are required in the treatment and prevention of the corona pandemic. As it
seems this situation might endure for some time to come, the government must
step in and ensure that the hospitals are not being forced to overpay to
protect the healthcare workers who are at the forefront of this pandemic.