Beijing drug store fined over mask prices

Chinese regulators have handed a hefty fine to a Beijing store for raising the price of face masks.
Chinese regulators have handed a hefty fine to a Beijing store for raising the price of face masks.

A drugstore in the Chinese capital has been be fined 3 million yuan ($A642,000) for hiking the price of masks by almost six times the online rate amid a spreading virus outbreak, the Beijing municipal market regulator says.

The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the central city of Wuhan late last year, has killed 132 people, with nearly 6,000 infected in China.

An administrative penalty notice has been issued to the Beijing Jimin Kangtai Pharmacy for sharply raising the price of N95 masks, the regulator said in a statement on its website.

The store raised the price of a box of 3M brand masks to 850 yuan while the online price was just 143 yuan, state television said.

Since Thursday, the regulator has investigated 31 price violation cases, it said, as it boosted supervision of prices of protective gear and punished illegal activities, such as hoarding or fabricating information about price hikes.

In the commercial capital of Shanghai, the municipal market regulator has ordered the closure of a drug store that sold sub-standard masks, the city government said.

The regulator has asked the store to refund buyers and dispose of unsold ones, it said on its official account on the Weibo app.

The regulator has issued a notice of administrative penalty to Beijing Jimin Kangtai Pharmacy for sharply raising the price of N95 masks, it said in a statement on its website.

Jimin Kangtai raised the price of 3M brand masks to 850 yuan per box, while the price of the same type of masks sold online was 143 yuan per box, state television said.

The Beijing municipal regulator has stepped up supervision on prices of epidemic protective equipments and punished illegal activities such as hoarding or fabricating information about price hikes. It has investigated 31 cases of price violation since January 23, it said.

The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the central city of Wuhan late last year, has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 in China.

Australian Associated Press