Market of disinfectant products booms
Sale of substandard hand sanitizer and protective gears goes on unabated on the footpaths in the capital with authorities turn blind eyes on this illegal business.
Syed Shemul Parvez :
Bangladesh officially announced the first coronavirus case on 8 March. Since then, the demand for germicide products has been increasing tremendously.
The country's top two producers company said that they are now unable to meet the growing demand due to the crisis of raw material. And that is why the market is flooded with fake disinfectant products. As the demand is on the rise, there have been also allegations of selling disinfectant products at 4/5 times higher prices and even in some places traders have been fined for hiking their prices in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Finally, the Department of Drug Administration had to tie up the price of hand sanitizers of seven companies.
Monowara Begum, a resident of City's Maghbazar, works in a private company.
In the second week of March, she bought two 50-ml bottles of Hexisol for Tk 250, though the real price of two bottles was Tk 80 only.
Monowara said, I used to buy Savlon and Hexisol from the grocery shops in the local areas. But on March 10/12, I couldn't get these in the local shops. Though it was found in a big pharmacy, the price was too high.
But right now these products are out of market, She added.
Some leading companies in Bangladesh that manufacture and market antiseptic products are Square, ACI, SKF Pharmaceuticals, Incepta, Clinzel, Greenland and Opsonin.
Square and ACI are among the companies that produce disinfectant products massively in the country.
Officials of the both companies said that the demand for antiseptic soaps, hand sanitizers, hand rubs, antiseptic liquids, antiseptics and baby wipes has been increased.
Jasmine Zaman, Head of Marketing of Square Toiletries, told the media that they used to produce and market around 15-20 tonnes in a year. But now they have to supply at least 60-70 tonnes per day.
We are not able to supply those products for the scarcity of raw materials. However, we are trying our level best to meet the market demand, she added.
On the other hand, Syed Alamgir, Managing Director of ACI Consumer Brands, said that their market for Savlon Liquid and Antiseptic Cream was for only one million people. But right now we have to meet the demand of 17 crore people. So you may understand the reality.
They are also not capable to meet the demand. Because they could not have imagined that such a situation could happen later, Syed Alamgir added.
Taking opportunity of this crisis situation, counterfeit disinfectant products have spread all over the country. Members of the law enforcement agencies had also arrested many people while they were selling the fake products in the name of established companies.