Consumers Affairs has no say in hiked prices for anti-bacterial agents

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Following the confirmation of one imported case of the novel Coronavirus –COVID-19 –in Guyana, there has been a surge in the demand for Lysol, Hand Sanitizers, rubbing alcohol and other anti-bacterial agents.

The high demand has also caused a significant increase in the price of the commodities since most pharmacies were not prepared.

One owner of a pharmacy located in Middle Street, Georgetown said it is the wholesalers who have increased their prices due to an increased demand for the products which are available in low quantity.

Consumers are complaining bitterly about the exorbitant increase but Head of the Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission (CCAC), Feyona Austin-Paul said the Commission has no jurisdiction to regulate market prices.

She appealed to suppliers to return to the regular price.

A man in downtown Georgetown wears a mask to protect himself from the virus [Photo: Richard Jagdeo/News Room]
“We have been receiving calls from persons and we know what’s going on but our Consumer Affairs Act does not give us jurisdiction to construct prices,” Austin-Paul said during an interview with the News Room.

The Commission also highlighted that it is morally wrong to take advantage of consumers during any national emergency.

“We know it’s in the interest of consumers so we are trying to see who has this jurisdiction cause we know it’s affecting consumers terribly at this moment,” Austin-Paul said.

Meanwhile, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCCI), Nicholas Boyer also told the News Room that they have no jurisdiction over the hike in prices.

“I would hope everybody act in the public interest,” Boyer noted.

He also explained that the hike in prices is a minimal issue and persons should focus more instead on the response by the Ministry of Public Health on the virus.

“You need to know that the Ministry of Health is ready for this and that they are able to handle the number of cases that are going to come on them,” Boyer said.

Persons were seen in long lines at pharmacies around the city trying to stock up on detergents to safeguard themselves.

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