Demand for masks to protect against coronavirus has soared by 8,000 percent at pharmacies in Spain and by 5,000% in Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera, according to Eladio González, President of the Apotecaris Cooperative & Federation of Pharmaceutical Distributors, Fedifar.
“In Spain, pharmacies were demanding 100,000 units a day at a peak times and when the pandemic spread across Europe, factories were only able to fill around 10% of orders. There was even a time when masks went up for auction,” says González, referring to the market for medical devices that sprung up as demand went through the roof.
“There has been no increase in the price of medicines because it is a regulated market, although there has been some fraudulent sales on the Internet," says González. "The cost of masks has gone up especially in International markets and we have seen prices fluctuate in pharmacies because some manufacturers have doubled the price of masks and gloves and for that reason we have asked the Administration to regulate prices,” he explains.
“Last week the Apothecarian Cooperative was waiting for an order, which was late and incomplete and you feel sorry for them, because in many cases half the order is paid in advance and at the peak of the curve there was no longer a delivery time," he says. "Spanish suppliers have maintained their prices, but International suppliers have changed theirs."
The Government supplied a large amount of masks for Healthcare Personnel in Hospitals but González admits that "there have been few masks distributed to pharmacies.”
Regarding the possibility of a vaccine, the President of the Cooperative points out that “pharmacies in Europe already have experience of giving vaccines, especially in France and we would have no problem giving coronavirus analysis tests, like we already do for HIV.”