Mask price controversy


“Not on”: A Brisbane pharmacy was criticised by the state’s Opposition Leader for its disposable mask prices in a subsequently deleted Facebook post

The pharmacy in Brisbane’s north was criticised for charging nearly $60 for a pack of 50 face masks, according to the Courier Mail and Daily Mail.

Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli reportedly took a photo of the display at a pharmacy last week and said the pricing move “isn’t on”.

“Some shops in Brisbane are increasing mask sales by 400 per cent, taking advantage of people’s anxiety,” he told the Courier Mail.

However the post was deleted the same day, said Trent Twomey, president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Queensland branch.

Mr Twomey said the post was withdrawn after Mr Crisafulli was informed that it was a price for a bulk purchase of 50 masks. He was also told that the pharmacy had been charging this price for the 50-mask pack since September 2020.

Before it was withdrawn, the post had already been noticed by New Limited media, Mr Twomey said.   

Face masks in the city have increased in demand after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced mandatory mask wearing for greater Brisbane, which has been extended until 22 January.

Oher outlets can be found selling similar packs of face masks for much cheaper. For example, a 50-pack of disposable face masks at Kmart is going for $15 and at Woolworths for $28.

Chemist Warehouse is selling a 50-pack of masks for $29.99, although some other brands in its range also reach the $60 mark.

Brisbanites have been ordered to wear a mask in indoor spaces including shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets; hospitals and aged care facilities; churches, places of worship; libraries, cinemas, art galleries; gyms; indoor workplaces if you cannot socially distance; and public transport, taxis and rideshares.

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