Police detains over 20 Kazakh residents for price gouging of pharmaceutical products
14 billion tenge (US$34.4 million) was allocated for free PCR-based coronavirus testing in Kazakhstan.
“A certain amount of money is allocated, which is forwarded to medical organizations - clinics and hospitals. These organizations enter into agreements with laboratories that are in their accessibility. Every month, these tests enter the market. Nearly 14 billion tenge (US$34.4 million) has been allocated, and the insurance fund renews this pool if needed. The number of tests, which will be announced, will be funded,” said Kazakh Health Minister Alexey Tsoy.
In Kazakhstan, PCR-based COVID-19 testing is free for health workers, law enforcement officers and employees of life support enterprises, both public and private.
Meanwhile, police conducted raids in the country to detect cases of selling medicines at inflated prices. In the first day alone, police detained more than 20 people.
“In total, 21 people were taken to the police stations on the first day of raids. More than 3,500 packages of medicines were seized from them, including 2,100 packages of the ‘Acetylsalicylic acid’, 589 packages of ‘Paracetamol’, 230 ampoules of ‘Ceftriaxone’ and other drugs,” said Kazakh Ministry of Internal Affairs’statement.
In addition, law enforcement officers seized personal protective equipment, thermometers and antiseptics during the inspections. As it turned out, speculators resold drugs at a cost exceeding official retail prices by five to 20 times.
“Individuals, who organized the purchase of medicines in large volumes, were identified. They created the artificial shortage of these drugs and then resold them at prices many times higher than the real cost. Numerous medications resale cases were detected across the country. Some enterprising citizens sold medicines literally ‘under the counter’, without issuing the fiscal receipt. Consumers had no choice but to buy medicines at an unreasonably high price,” Kazakh Interior Ministry said.
Residents of Nur-Sultan, Shymkent, Almaty, as well as Akmola region, Aktobe region, Atyrau region, East Kazakhstan region, Zhambyl region and West Kazakhstan region were detained for such cases of medicines resale.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the Kazakh government and law enforcement agencies to resolve the issue of increasing prices for medicines in the pharmacies. President Tokayev assured that those responsible would be held accountable.