ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Nausheen Hamid Sunday said government was taking serious notice of high increase in prices of face masks. She said the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) has started crackdown on those involved in price hike of the protective gears. Talking to PTV news, Hamid said authorities are cracking down on profiteers, following complaints that some businesses and individuals have been selling face masks for grossly inflated prices amid a surge in demand. She said Pharmacies are taking advantage of the current situation. Many are claiming that they have run out of stocks of masks but government warns pharmacies against hiking prices of face masks. DRAP has urged all customers to report cases if they come across hiked prices for face masks. She said DRAP’s task force would conduct different market surveys for the determination of overpricing. Serious action should also be taken against owners of some medical stores who were involved in the unauthorized increase in prices of protective gears against corona virus, she added. She mentioned a government helpline has also been set up in Pakistan to address questions related to coronavirus, adding , around 11,000 calls were received through this helpline number yet. Masses have been urged to report on helpline, if they or anyone they knew showed symptoms of the virus or if they have recently traveled to any country impacted by the disease. She also urged the public and media to cooperate with the government and shun all propaganda against this diseases as it is a serious matter of concerns for all. The secretary said drug control authorities is helping the government and health department to make these masks available at hospitals. She further mentioned that the people who were healthy did not need to wear masks and citizens should focus on maintaining hygiene and washing hands to remain healthy. DRAP authorities will seal the medical stores that were selling masks at a price higher than usual, she added. She requested public not to panic as they are cautioned and making all proactive preventive measures to keep our people safe. “Government would regulate the prices of masks and we are taking the needed security and precautionary measures”, she said.