Peru's Health Min: Raising medical oxygen prices is a crime
Peruvian Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti on Thursday deemed as "a real crime" the behavior of some entrepreneurs who take advantage of COVID-19 patients' needs and raise the price of medical oxygen above the usual ones.
Within this framework, the high-ranking official urged citizens to remain alert during the second coronavirus wave in order to quickly denounce those who hoard such a vital element for people's lives.
"We must carry out an adequate inspection and prevent an unusual price increase. That is a crime because we all have friends, family members, and we are all exposed to COVID-19. Therefore, we must be very firm and quickly report the hoarding," she noted.
The Cabinet member said that —during the first wave— the pandemic "found us very weak," but now in the second moment "we already know that there are a series of things which are beginning to happen," adding that oxygen becomes a vital element for COVID-19 patients.
The minister highlighted that Respira Peru (Breathe, Peru) Program has served to open several oxygen therapy centers, while the Ministry of Health and the Social Health Insurance System (EsSalud) are implementing more and more oxygen points inside hospitals.
Dr. Mazzetti also affirmed that —thanks to the contribution received from private companies— the country will have oxygen plants, which will be independent from the health establishments.
"With everyone's help, we already rely on nearly 86 plants in the country, but more places are needed for the population to receive oxygen," she indicated.
Remarks were made during the inauguration of a medical oxygen plant in Lima.