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North Vancouver pharmacy sold N-95 masks for $10 each
VANCOUVER -- The owner of a North Vancouver pharmacy that was selling N-95 masks for $10 each said he has now stopped selling the in-demand item after hearing that there is a shortage of masks for hospitals.
The owner of Central Lonsdale Pharmacy, who refused to give his name when CTV News Vancouver contacted him by phone, said he had ordered the N-95 masks from Amazon and sold them for several days at a 30 per cent markup. The masks sold quickly, he said.
“We heard that there’s a shortage on these product and it should go to hospitals, so not to buy and not to sell,” the store owner told CTV News
He said that Friday was the last day the pharmacy was selling the N-95 masks.
As COVID-19 cases have ticked upward in Canada and around the world, demand for N-95 masks has soared because they offer a high level of protection against airborne particles.
Hospitals are now accepting donations of unused medical masks, including N-95s, and public health officials have asked that medical-grade masks be reserved for frontline nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers who are at a higher risk of catching the virus.
The B.C. government recently introduced measures to ban the resale of food, medical supplies and personal protective equipment during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, police in Delta described how officers set up a sting operation to catch two people who were allegedly reselling medical masks. The sellers were each fined $500 and had their masks confiscated, according to police.
The owner of Central Lonsdale Pharmacy said his intention in stocking the masks was to help members of the community protect themselves against the highly contagious virus.
“If people can’t get this protective product, how can they protect themselves?” he asked. “If there’s a shortage in the hospital, that’s the responsibility of government.”
In daily updates on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and health minister Adrian Dix have acknowledged that stocking enough personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers is a concern.
The province is competing with many jurisdictions around the world which are also looking for N-95 and surgical masks, Dix has said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Carly Yoshida-Butryn.