COVID - 19 – Price ceiling

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Resolution No. 114/2020 – Price ceiling to critical medical supplies 

On April 17, 2020, the Resolution No. 114/2020 of the Secretariat of Domestic Trade, dependent on the Ministry of Productive Development, was published in the Official Gazette. By means of such Resolution, it was order to set a temporary retrocession of the sale prices of contact body thermometers and non-surgical and/or cloth masks to the prices in force as of March 6, 2020 for an extendable term of ninety (90) days. Likewise, the price to commercialize the aforementioned masks during the quarantine was temporarily fixed in forty pesos (AR$ 40) per unit. On the other hand, regarding N95 or surgical masks, the rule provides that its commercialization shall be limited to health service personnel and legal persons whose purpose is the rendering of such service. The measure shall enter into force as from April 18, 2020. In order to access the Resolution, click here (available only in Spanish).

Through this Resolution, and according to the provisions set forth due to the extraordinary situation caused by the health emergency arising from the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the intention is to ensure the population the supply of critical medical products that allow personal protection and reduce the contagion risk of the virus.

In this sense, abusive behavior has been verified regarding generalized increase of sale prices of critical medical products by suppliers and manufacturers of such products. This fact derived in the intervention of the fixing of prices and control of the sale of essential medical products in order to ensure the health protection and avoid contagion situations, prioritizing the population welfare in the current health emergency situation.

By means of Resolution No. 114/2020, it was order to set a temporary retrocession of the sale prices of contact body thermometers and non-surgical and/or cloth masks to the prices in force as of March 6, 2020. Regarding the specific case of the mask, due to its massive consumption and the recommendations of health authorities, a maximum price was also fixed equally for all the National Territory in forty pesos (AR$ 40) per unit. This measure was taken to avoid price dispersion and ensure access to the provision of such product.

In order to secure the interests and rights of consumers and to favor information transparency, the aforementioned Resolution has also provided the obligation to display sale prices of the aforementioned products in every point of sale. Likewise, producers, suppliers and marketers of the products under the scope of this rule are obliged to have in each point of sale a list of the prices in force as of March 6, 2020, which shall be displayed as required by the supervisory authorities, and shall have the nature of an affidavit.

Finally, the rule regulates the sale of N95 and/or surgical masks. These masks are necessary for health professionals and personnel, as well as, legal persons whose purpose is the rendering of such service, to perform their tasks in the most possible protected way, given that they are mostly exposed to the virus. Due to the registered lack of stock and the difficulty to access those types of masks, Resolution No. 114/2020 set a limitation of their commercialization so that they can only be acquired by the aforementioned individuals.