‘Tester’ masks cop a spray

An Adelaide Hills pharmacy has been lambasted in the mainstream media for having “tester” masks on display, but the store says they were never intended for the public to try on

A News Corp journalist who lives in the Adelaide Hills area took to Twitter over the weekend to query a local pharmacy’s display of face masks, which includes a couple of masks out of their packaging and marked “Tester”.

“Anyone else think there might be an issue here? … Spotted at a Hills pharmacy,” wrote Lydia Kellner, editor of The Adelaide Hills News.

The comment sparked a longer thread in which The Advertiser journalist Miles Kemp said he had raised a similar issue with an Adelaide pharmacy, but the pharmacist “couldn’t see the problem”.

Several Twitter users responded with surprise, with one saying this was “sheer madness” and another suggesting it was a “rather irresponsible prank”.


The Pharmacists’ Support Service’s Kay Dunkley suggested that the masks were there because patients wanted to touch samples, rather than for trying on, and that perhaps they should have been labelled, “Sample”.


News.com.au picked up the story, saying the “tester” masks had “raised eyebrows” and noting that people are “not supposed to reuse single use masks like those in the picture shared by Ms Kellner”.

A spokesperson for the pharmacy, which AJP has chosen not to identify, told the AJP that the masks were never intended for customers to try on their faces, but to be used as demonstration models.

“It’s more for us to show how to use the masks,” the spokesperson said. “A lot of people don’t know how to press on the little thing to seal the mask – if you buy the N95 and don’t press it, you’re not using it correctly.

“People just want to compare that to the surgical masks, so instead of them touching the masks we sell, we have those there for them to touch.

“It’s definitely not for them to try on!”

They said that many people do not understand how to correctly wear the various masks, and that older people in particular find it difficult to correctly position the loops over their ears. Other variants tie in the back, which people need to be aware of before they buy as these can be difficult to put on, they said.

“The simplest way to give them direction is to show them where the piece of metal is to actually clamp down. If you’re going to spend money on these, you need to know how to put it on properly.”

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