Balasore: Black marketing of medical equipment is becoming rampant in parts of Balasore district as the second Covid-19 wave is sweeping the state. With more and more people being hit by the virus, demand for medicines and other items have sky-rocketed. Taking advantage of this fact, some unscrupulous businessmen are making a killing.
Most people these days are trying to acquire oxygen cylinders, oximeters and steamer machines in their houses so that they can use them anytime.
Cashing in on this trend, some businessmen have hiked the prices of equipment, it was alleged.
Sources said that a 10-litre medical grade Class-D oxygen cylinder is being sold for anything between Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 when the actual price is Rs 4,000. Similarly, oximeters are being sold for Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 when their actual prices vary between Rs 300 and Rs 450. Steam machines are being sold for Rs 500 a piece when the price is Rs 110. Prices of surgical masks and nebulizers have also increased manifold.
“The doctors are advising people to acquire the equipment for patients under home isolation. So relatives of patients have no options but to buy these items, even if they have to cough up excess money,” a local resident of this town said on condition of anonymity.
Manas Mohanty who works in the marketing department of Balasore Oxygen Company said they have run out of cylinders. “The cylinders we had have already been supplied to hospitals as per the direction of the district administration. At times, some customers come to our plants to refill their cylinders. We however, do not charge extra for refilling,” he said.