Johannesburg – The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has reached a settlement agreement with Mopani pharmacy operating in Mpumalanga and People’s pharmacy operating in Kwa-Zulu Natal. This follows the NCC’s investigations into allegations of excessive price increase (price gouging) of hand sanitizers as well as facial masks by both suppliers. These items are essential in curbing the spread of Covid-19.
In terms of the agreement, Mopani pharmacy is required to pay an administrative penalty of R52 700 while People’s pharmacy administrative fine of R10 000. The Commission found both pharmacies guilty of contravening Sections 40 and 48 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) read with Regulations 350 by unfairly increasing the price of facial masks and hand sanitizers.
Acting Commissioner at the NCC, Ms. Thezi Mabuza says the investigation revealed that Mopani pharmacy made a profit of 179% on facial masks while People’s pharmacy made a profit of 74.72%. As part of the agreement, Mopani pharmacy will donate 2500 units of reusable facial masks to a non-profit organisation in Mpumalanga, and People’s pharmacy will donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to the value of R20 000 to two non-profit organisations in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Both suppliers have also agreed to desist from engaging in conduct that violates any provision of the CPA.
The Commission is referring more matters, of alleged unfair price increases, to the Tribunal to declare their conduct prohibited and the imposition of appropriate fines against offending suppliers.