Opposition MP warns of “social tension” if face mask prices aren’t regulated
YEREVAN, MAY 25, ARMENPRESS. Opposition lawmaker Naira Zohrabyan from Prosperous Armenia (BHK) party has called on authorities to tackle the price problem of face masks.
She said in parliament that most likely importing or producing companies have made over-profits from the coronavirus situation.
Addressing the Chairman of the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition Gegham Gevorgyan, she suggested expanding his mandate so the commission will have the legal levers to tackle businesses who are trying to exploit the situation.
She argues that in the past when monopolies were suppling pharmacies with face masks which were being sold for 20 or 30 drams per piece, they weren’t doing it out of good faith either. “They again had their mega profits, but now they have a hundred times more of this mega profit. And you had since February to hold them to account for these anomaly profits,” Zohrabyan told Gevorgyan.
Zohrabyan even questioned the quality of the face masks currently available in pharmacies. She said the ones before the outbreak were better.
She said she personally bought a face mask from a Yerevan downtown pharmacy for 220 drams. “This is simply inadmissible. We must realize that every family will have to spend 60,000 drams per months to buy face masks in this logic. Or they will have to re-use the already contaminated face masks they are keeping in their pockets. Regulate this sector, otherwise this will lead to a serious social tension, also given the healthcare minister’s latest statement that we should wear face masks for at least 2 years,” she said.
Zohrabyan says she has personally seen how two people were wearing the same masks taking turns outside a pharmacy. She said that at least the socially vulnerable families must get free face masks .
Reporting by Anna Grigoryan; Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan