Demand for masks soars amid supply crunch

Jakia Ahmed
Published : 07:30, Feb 04, 2020 | Updated : 07:30, Feb 04, 2020

REUTERSThere is a scarcity of surgical masks in the city. Most of the pharmacies do not have face masks and they have said that the companies which supplied them have stopped providing masks.
Some masks were found at Lazz Pharma but at an inflated price. Sellers say that at the beginning of the spread of the coronavirus, many bought up to 2000 masks.
The medicine administration says that an artificial crisis is being created but assured that drives will be carried out soon.
A buyer lamented after scouring the Shahbagh medicine market: “One may be able to buy an expensive medicine here but not the cheap face mask.”
Owner of Belle View Pharmaceuticals, Ripon Samad, added: “The demand is for ten thousand masks around the year but suddenly, that has risen to 200,000 to 300,000.”
Those who import masks need 50 to 60 days from the opening of the LC to the arrival of masks from abroad, said Ripon.
In that account, if companies ordered last week then the masks may arrive at the end of March or April. There are different kinds of masks available in the market, ranging from Tk 5 to Tk 50.
DG of the Medicine Administration Department, Brigadier General Mahbubur Rahman, said: “Efforts are underway to create a crisis; this is being done by unscrupulous traders.”
He further said that in the country only two companies make masks and they cannot make the item to meet the rising demand.
Of the two local companies making masks, one is Gate well. AGM of Gate well, Ziaul Huq, said: “The demand has seen a sudden surge but we are making masks as per demand.”