Coronavirus outbreak leads to shortage of hand sanitizer

As the coronavirus continues to spread, hand sanitizer and face masks are flying off the shelves at pharmacies and grocery stores across Rhode Island. 
Hand Sanitizer

WAKEFIELD, R.I. (WLNE) – As the coronavirus continues to spread, hand sanitizer and face masks are flying off the shelves at pharmacies and grocery stores across Rhode Island.

“CVS was out. They were out of wipes, Purell, even hand soap. Everything was gone,” said Wakefield resident Kerrie Hedde.

Hedde is shopping for hand sanitizer and wipes to take with her on her upcoming family trip to Puerto Rico.

“We are trying to be a little cautious,” she said.

But she, and many shoppers like her, are having a difficult time finding stores that are still in stock.

“What we have now is all we can get our hands on,” said Christina Procaccianti, owner of Green Line Apothecary.

She said her pharmacy sold out of face masks last week.

“With people buying all of the face masks off the shelves we don’t have an adequate supply for healthcare workers– who really are the people we should be reserving face masks for,” said Procaccianti.

She’s ordered more stock for the store, but the items are back-ordered. To make matters worse, some of the products come from China, so it’s unclear as to when the next shipment will arrive.

“We don’t have any way to know,” said Procaccianti. “We don’t really have any way to anticipate how long the shortage will last.”

Shoppers who turn to Amazon are also having trouble. Items like hand sanitizer are either unavailable or the prices have been jacked up.

In response, Amazon says it has pulled more than 1 million products for price gouging or falsely advertising effectiveness against the coronavirus.

The company said in a statement that it has “always required sellers provide accurate information” on product pages and removes those that violate its policies.
Amazon said that third-party sellers must follow its Fair Pricing Policy, which states companies can’t set a price “significantly higher” than seen in other places or sell an item that “misleads customers.”

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Your Health