The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating five pharmacies for allegedly taking advantage of the Covid pandemic to overprice pharmaceutical products.
According to a statement signed by the commission’s executive director James Kaphale, an exercise carried by the commission in January and February discovered that some pharmacies are charging exorbitant prices.
”The commission will impose stiff sanctions against any pharmaceutical company or trader found engaging in deceptive practices or any other trade malpractices such as excessive pricing in the supply of supplies used in the management of Covid,” reads the statement.
For instance, the commission discovered that some traders have been promoting and marketing certain products as cure or treatment of Covid.
According to international health authorities, there is no clinically tested and approved product which can cure Covid.
CFTC further warned that any trader found representing that their product can cure Covid would be violating the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act. Similarly, any trader found pricing excessively would be infringing the law.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has said the overpricing of prices is not a new revelation because consumers have already been complaining about it.
Cama Executive Director John Kapito said in an interview that consumers expect action beyond announcements.
“We want regulatory bodies such as CFTC, Medicines and Poisons Board and others to say they have closed that pharmacy or they have done this action not telling us something we already know because there is nothing we can do but they have the mandate to do something,” he said.
One of the mandates of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission is to protect consumers from unfair trading practices.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.