Community pharmacies in Nigeria have reported massive boom in sales following an alleged increased demand for face masks by Chinese firms and agents.
They suspected that “the unusual deluge of demand for face masks” might not be unconnected with the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, which had made the World Health Organisation to declare the virus a global emergency.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the Managing Director, NHC Pharmaceuticals Limited, Laide Soetan, said a Chinese firm had asked if she could ship about 100 cartons of the protective masks to China.
Soetan, who expressed surprise at the idea, said the client was also willing to pay for the shipment in dollars.
According to her, prior to the outbreak of Lassa and Coronavirus viruses, a pack of 50 face masks sold for N350.
However, in the wake of the epidemic, an unprecedented heavy demand for the item had skyrocketed the price to N1,300.
Just on Friday, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had warned that the world was running out of masks and other protective equipment against the novel coronavirus.
“The world is facing a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment,” Ghebreyesus told the WHO’s executive board in Geneva.
He said he would be speaking to members of the supply chain network for protective gear to try and resolve “bottlenecks” in the production.