Missouri Attorney General Eric served three St. Louis-area businesses with Cease and Desist Letters after receiving complaints that these businesses were selling face masks at inflated prices. The Attorney General’s Office investigation revealed that the prices charged by the businesses for N95 masks and “Medical Isolation Masks” were substantially higher than what the masks generally sell for in the marketplace and what the masks sold for pre-pandemic.
The letters demand that the businesses cease and desist from selling masks at substantially higher prices.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked diligently to investigate all instances of price gouging in the state, especially relating to medical supplies and masks. We’re going to continue to investigate these instances and work with companies and individuals across the state to ensure that price gouging is rooted out and stopped," said Attorney General Schmitt.
The businesses receiving the letters are:
- BWell Pharmacy LLC: The Office received multiple complaints that BWell Pharmacy is selling N95 face masks for $20 each. Research indicates that a single N95 face mask typically retails for $1.07 to $5.99 at stores such as Home Depot and CVS.
- Interventional Center for Pain Management, P.C. (d/b/a Padda Institute): The Office received a complaint from a patient that the patient was solicited to buy a single N95 face mask for $25 after a recent appointment. Research indicates that a single N95 face mask typically retails for $1.07 to $5.99 at stores such as Home Depot and CVS.
- Olive Supermarket, Inc. d/b/a Olive Supermarket: The Office received a complaint that the store was selling 50-packs of “Medical Isolation Masks” for $50.00. Research indicates that 50-packs of similar masks typically retail for between $5.50 and $9.74.
The businesses have indicated that supply costs have increased the price of the masks they are selling. The Office continues to work with these businesses on this issue.
Anyone seeing instances of price gouging, particularly as relates to personal protective equipment or other health-related items, is encouraged to report it to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office by calling the Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or submitting a complaint online at https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/consumer-complaints.