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Greek Hospitals Say Face Mask Suppliers Gouging Over Coronavirus, Flu

February 8, 2020

ATHENS – With more Greeks taking to wearing face masks amid fears over spread of the Coronavirus that began in China, the union of Greece’s state hospital workers, POEDIN, said suppliers of face masks have jacked up the prices and said the government should step in.

They also cited growing anxiety over flu, which has killed 38 people since October, 2019, including 17 in the previous week with the masks beginning to show up among the public on the streets, subways and stores.

POEDIN accused hospital suppliers of profiteering by raising the price of simple flu masks from 1 euro cents to 3 cents, a 300 percent increase, not including Value Added Tax (VAT) and of boosting the price of heavy-duty masks such as those urged in surgery from 6 cents to 2 euros.

“Companies are invoking shortages to justify profiteering at the expense of hospitals and citizens, taking advantage of concerns about the appearance of the coronavirus and a peak in the flu,” POEDIN said, according to Kathimerini.

“Hospitals’ anemic budgets will not be able to cope and what will happen is that they will run out of masks, which are essential for citizens, if not for the Coronavirus then certainly for the seasonal flu,” the union said, calling for swift action from the government.

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