Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and other major retailers accused of price gouging face masks

Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and other major retailers have been accused of profiteering by placing “excessive markups” on face masks.

Mask Bros, a student organisation which sells masks at “fair” prices often half the price of major retailers, has accused them of price gouging.

According to Mask Bros, which has now sold over 500,000 masks, retailers that purchase major quantities of masks and have their own logistics networks pay around between 20p and 30p for each medical 3-ply standard mask.

Boots sells these for 70p per mask, while Lloyds Pharmacy sells them for £1 per mask, which equates to gross profit margins of around 70 per cent.

Average gross profit margins for Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy, according to Mask Bros, are 21 per cent and six per cent respectively.

READ MORE: Aldi becomes first major UK supermarket to sell non-medical face masks

Tesco and Co-op were also implicated for selling non-medical disposable face masks for 65p and 75p per unit respectively, compared to Mask Bros’ 25p per mask.

“We add a small margin to maintain our website, cover the cost of packing materials, pay for inspections, compensate our key workers, and scale to offer more products at lower prices,” Mask Bros which sells the same masks for 50p said.

“But in general, we try to stay fair. And that’s reflected in our prices.

Both companies have been contacted for comment but neither had responded at the time of writing.

It comes amid ongoing calls for retailers and marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon to stamp out price gouging in their stores to ensure everyone has access to PPE.

Consumer watchdog Which? head of consumer protection Sue Davies said: “Regulators must be empowered to take swift action to ensure this practice is stamped out. It is imperative we learn from this experience and ensure people are protected and that the prices of essential items stay reasonable during crises, both now and in the future.”

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22 Comments. Leave new

  • I bought a mask at at 24 hour stop near the oval tube station
    The store sold the mask for £1.46
    Which is redicules but I has no other choice at that point

  • Mrs Z Barnard
    June 19, 2020 2:37 pm

    Just bought a pack of 10 from Sainsbury’s for £8!

  • Pamela Vige
    June 19, 2020 2:56 pm

    I bought 4 mask from tcj and 20 pounds yes I did begrudge. And then they charge 5.99postage.
    And it’s from the shopping chanel.

    • Christine Watson
      June 19, 2020 9:02 pm

      Outrageous, you can make them yourself easily from fine gauge cotton recycled from your wardrobe. Look at utube. Make a few because you will have to wash them each time.

      • Exactly. I’m sewing and trying to give away locally. Note I say trying. Food bank not interested. Local homeless contacted not interested.

  • Ann Delgado
    June 19, 2020 3:09 pm

    Money making scam for retailers and government

  • Hi Pharmacy day lewis in peckham se15 london want 45 pounds for a box of 50 3 ply masks. High way robbery.

  • Julie OSBORNE
    June 19, 2020 5:24 pm

    I got 2 for a pound in the pound shop

  • I bought a box of 50 two weeks ago on Amazon for £5.65. if that third party can sell via Amazon and make a profit, just how much profiteering
    By Boots group of chemists??

    • I bought three boxes of 50 from Amazon for just over £11.79p not all for myself, for my parents, Boots etc ” should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Got 210 on Amazon for around £15

  • Norma Fulton
    June 19, 2020 5:41 pm

    Marks and Spencer £3 per mask

  • Caroline Ralston
    June 19, 2020 6:20 pm

    I bought a box of 50 disposable masks from Boots Chemist for £35 pounds. !!?

  • I bought one from local chemist
    i thought they were doing me favour as was told it was one off their driver. I asked what do I owe and like a fool I paid £4.50 for one I was then told it was disposable.

  • ASDA dropped price of 4 masks from £3.50 to £2.80 within 5 days.

  • Michael dickson
    June 20, 2020 6:47 am

    Maybe think twice before blaming the retailers. Pharmacy wholesalers have rapidly increased the price of these In the last 2 months. It would cost our pharmacy £23 for 50 masks from the biggest wholesaler in UK. Our pharmacy decided to go for reusable masks which are a much more reasonable cost

  • I bought mine from for £16 for a box of 50 and they arrived the next day! Boots and pharmacies are just profiteering on another scale.

  • Do mask Bros have any high street stores to pay for with rent, rates and service charges along PPE supply for being a frontline healthcare provider?


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