Pharmaceutical workers wear face masks to serve customers in a pharmacy in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
Pharmaceutical workers wear face masks to serve customers in a pharmacy. Photo of illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Dubai Economy has imposed fines on 14 shops including nine pharmacies for increasing prices of face masks.

According to a Dubai Economy press release on Sunday, fines were slapped on shops with inflated prices of face masks to exploit the rise in demand for hygiene essentials following the nationwide alert against COVID-19. At least five merchants, including two supermarkets and suppliers, were also fined for tampering with prices.

The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in Dubai Economy issued fines to merchants after complaints from consumers. Inspectors investigated the complaints and also tracked the supply chain to verify the price. A repeat offense would attract double the fines and may lead to closing down the outlet.

Dubai Economy reminded businesses to refrain from taking undue advantage of the present situation and also called on pharmacies and medical equipment suppliers to demonstrate their social responsibility by reducing the prices of essentials, such as face masks, sanitisers, and disinfectants.

Consumers can raise their complaints and queries relating to price increases of their basic needs, including hygiene essentials, on the portal or by calling 600 54 55 55.