HHS implements anti-price pricing in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak

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The Department of Health and Human Services implemented President Trump’s decree on Thursday to prevent the hoarding of certain medical and medical resources needed to meet the coronavirus trigger.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced on Thursday a list of certain medical and medical resources subject to the prevention of hoarding which are also targeting price increases.

BARR SAYS DOJ GOES AFTER PRICE GOUGERS AND HARDERS

“Today we have designated a set of medical products that will be subject to the President’s recent decree to prevent hoarding and prices,” said Azar.

The ordinance prevents accumulation beyond the reasonable requirements of professional consumption, personal or domestic, or for the purpose of reselling prices above current market prices.

Designated materials include N-95 filter masks, other “respiratory filter masks”; respirators and filters and filter cartridges. The prescription also protects chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (the antimalarial drugs used to relieve the symptoms of COVID-19); sterilization services for medical devices; and disinfect and disinfect hands.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical gowns, clothing, surgical gowns, Tyvek coveralls, PPE face masks, surgical masks and face shields are also protected by the prescription.

The ordinance also covers portable ventilators, ordinary ventilators, anesthesia gas devices and other respiratory devices.

“HHS and FEMA will continue to work closely to monitor and fill shortages of needed medical products, and we look forward to working closely with the Department of Justice on measures to prevent hoarding,” said Azar Thursday. “The President will do everything possible to provide American health care providers with the supplies they need to stay safe and save lives.”

Earlier this week, the Trump administration promised to prosecute price fraudsters and those storing critical medical supplies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Quite simply, we will not allow anyone to exploit the suffering of American citizens for their own benefit,” Trump said on Monday.

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Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday he has seen evidence of price hikes and hoarding in recent weeks.

“Once specific materials are so designated, people are prohibited from accumulating these items beyond reasonable personal or commercial needs or for the purpose of selling them above prevailing market prices,” said Barr Monday.

“We are talking about people who hoard these goods and materials on an industrial scale in order to manipulate the market and ultimately generate windfall profits,” said Barr. “If you have a lot of toilet paper in your house, this is not something you should worry about. But, if you are sitting in a warehouse with masks, surgical masks, you will hear a blow to your door.”

The order comes after states, such as New York, which has become the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic, have complained about rising prices for necessary PPE such as N-95 masks.

On Thursday morning, the United States reported more than 69,100 positive cases of COVID-19. Late Wednesday evening, the death toll in the country exceeded 1,000.

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