Beijing drug store fined $434,530 for hiking price of masks

Reuters

Posted at Jan 29 2020 10:12 AM

People wearing masks travel in the subway, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China January 28, 2020. Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Reuters

BEIJING - A drug store in Beijing will be fined 3 million yuan ($434,530) for hiking the price of face masks by almost six times the online price amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Beijing municipal market regulator said on Wednesday.

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 equipment and punished illegal activities such as hoarding or fabricating information about price hikes. It has investigated 31 cases of price violation since Jan. 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.