COVID-19 surgical mask
Three pharmacies in Dubai were caught selling face masks and hand sanitisers at an exaggerated price. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Three pharmacies in Dubai were slapped with heavy fines for taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and selling facemasks, as well as hand sanitisers, at an exaggerated price.

The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in Dubai Economy has imposed fines on three pharmacies, located in Jumeirah, Al Khawaneej and Mirdif, for tampering with the prices of face masks and sanitisers. Two of the pharmacies were found to have exaggerated the price of face masks while the third had sold sanitisers at a higher price and without proper invoice.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CCCP said it acted against the three pharmacies following consumer complaints and due follow-up and investigations, which proved the allegations to be correct. A repeat offense would attract double the fines and may lead to closing down the outlet.

Dubai Economy appealed to businesses in the emirate to refrain from taking advantage of the present situation to inflate prices of face masks, sanitisers, and disinfectants, and also urged pharmacies and medical equipment suppliers to demonstrate their social responsibility by reducing the prices of such essentials.

Consumers can report any price manipulation or negative practice to Dubai Economy through the call center number 600 54 5555, the 'Dubai Consumer' app, or on the website

Hand sanitisers

200325 saniteizer
If access to soap and water is restricted and then a vigorous hand-clean with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with an alcohol concentration of at least 60% will also destroy the virus. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Health authorities in the UAE have also recalled three brands of hand sanitisers for not adhering to the quality standard of anti-bacterial products.

The Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (Esma) confirmed on Tuesday that Rosa Bella, Dyna+ and Lulu hand sanitizers with Aloe and Vitamin E were pulled out of the UAE market for containing less than 60 per cent alcohol content.

"As part of the Department of Health (DoH) pharmaceutical products post marketing surveillance programme, samples of the affected products were tested at the pharmaceutical lab - CTL Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council Central Laboratories. Analysis results confirmed the non-conformity of the product's content/strength to international standards for hand sanitizer products used for anti-viral/anti-bacterial activities," said the health department in Abu Dhabi.