DOH sets price freeze for medicines, masks in Taal eruption-hit areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 15) — The Department of Health (DOH) has ordered a temporary stop in the increase in prices of medicines and medical supplies in areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III signed the department memorandum on Tuesday following confirmed reports of profiteering and hoarding.

DOH set the lowest and maximum ceiling prices for emergency medicines, such as analgesics, antibiotics, antibacterial medicines, respiratory tract medicines, and anti-asthma medicines.

Price freeze was also set for medical supplies, such as the highly in demand N95 face mask. DOH said the N95 mask should cost between P45-P105, while disposable surgical masks should cost a maximum of P8 per piece.

The prices of N95 masks skyrocketed to P200 per piece a day after Taal Volcano started spewing smoke and ash on January 12.

As a precautionary measure, over 40,000 people from Batangas and Cavite have been evacuated following Taal's eruption, disaster response officials said early Wednesday.