KZN pharmacy admits to charging excessive prices for face masks
A KwaZulu-Natal pharmacy has admitted to charging excessive prices for face masks, the Competition Commission said.
The Mandeni Pharmacy, according to the commission, signed a consent agreement which was confirmed as an order of the Competition Tribunal.
In terms of its agreement with the commission, the pharmacy agreed 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 (the total value obtained from the “overcharge” for face masks) to Mandeni Child Welfare situated in Mandeni, KZN.
“On March 23 2020, the commission received information about Mandeni Pharmacy in relation to inflated prices of face masks that it was charging customers in March 2020. Face masks fall under the protected category of ‘medical and hygiene supplies’ in the Consumer Protection Regulations,” the commission said.
The commission's investigation found that Mandeni Pharmacy had 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 them due to the sudden demand and panic-buying brought on by the national state of 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.
“Mandeni Pharmacy admits 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.”