Due to the spike in Covid-19 cases and the fact that pneumonia which develops in severe cases can be detected early using the Pulse Oximeter, the demand for the device has grown exponentially in the city. Given the huge demand for pulse oximeters as people check oxygen saturation levels and heartbeat rate in their body, a section of pharmacists and traders are duping gullible patients by selling them at an exorbitant price to make easy money in several parts in Andhra Pradesh. As the doctors have been advising people to check oxygen saturation levels in their bodies at regular intervals in a day as it indicates any infection in their lungs, a good number of people are on a spree of purchasing pulse oximeters and checking their SPo2.
Taking advantage of the situation, pharmacists are procuring them at a cost of about Rs 600 each from manufacturers based in India and selling them at prices ranging from Rs 2300 onwards with a profit margin or more than 100 percent. Though some pharmacists are procuring the oximeters from standard manufacturers who give details, others are procuring them from Delhi and Mumbai with no details of the manufacturers. Yet, others are procuring oximeters of sub-standard quality claiming to be made in China and are selling them at a cheap cost with no details of manufacturers at a cost ranging from Rs 600 and above.
Vizag based local pharmacist said, soon after receiving a WhatsApp message with an offer price of Rs 220 for a pulse oximeters, I immediately called up the mobile number from which I received the message and asked whether I can get details of the manufacturer, tax bill, and a one-year warranty. But to my surprise, he said no such details will be available. Later, I thought, the device must be sub-standard and it will show the wrong vitals of the human body. Many pharmacists say that though they require a license from drug control administration for manufacturing and sell a clinical thermometer, there seems to no such control on the manufacture and sale of pulse oximeters.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, the former vice president of the All India chemists and druggists association, Ramakrishna Rao, said, “Pulse oximeters are being sold by some pharmacists and traders at high prices to enhance their margin of profit given the good demand for such devices in the state at the moment. However, we advise the people to purchase only standard quality devices made by Indian manufacturers, to seek a bill and a warranty for a year, so that they will not be duped with sub-standard devices.”
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