Friday 25 September, 2020

Medical Disposables boss warns against ‘hustlers’ in supplies field

General Manager of Medical Disposables and Supplies Limited, Kurt Boothe.

General Manager of Medical Disposables and Supplies Limited, Kurt Boothe.

General Manager of Medical Disposables and Supplies (MDS) Limited, Kurt Boothe is warning against “hustlers” who have entered the medical distribution field with products of low quality as the demand for medical supplies hits an all-time high.

Demand for medical products has surged in the last month as the coronavirus, (COVID-19) spreads globally, infecting over one million people, with 59 cases to date in Jamaica.

Vitamins, protective wear, hand sanitisers and general pharmaceuticals are the products for which demand has sky-rocketed.

“We’ve seen an explosion of overnight hustlers of these items in demand. We seek to separate ourselves from this type of activity by maintaining our standard of quality by dealing with trusted sources only. We continue to give priority to our medical institutions, pharmacies and front-line workers, while carefully balancing the demands of the general public,” Boothe told Loop News.

He added: “as an essential products/services provider, we are very concerned for our nation when the demand is so overwhelming that we struggle to keep pace with supply needed. However, from a business standpoint, we consider ourselves blessed that we are experiencing such robust activity.”

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The company is also having to cope with price gouging.

“Some supply challenges include manufacturing countries suspending exports for their own domestic needs, and price gouging on global markets up to 1000 per cent of normal levels,” Boothe said.

He, however, noted that MDS will continue to do its best to meet local needs.

The general manager said products for which demand has increased significantly are masks of all types, gloves, alcohol, sanitizer, non-contact thermometers, nebulizers, among other disposable items.

He stated: “On the pharmaceutical side, we have specifically seen an increased demand for vitamins, but interestingly there has been heavy movement in prescription drug items across the board, as pharmacies are safeguarding against inventory depletion and customers are ensuring that they too are adequately stocked with medication.”

As to the margin of increase for products, he declined to share numbers.

“While I’ll be cautious about quoting numbers, I can say that in our history of doing business in Jamaica, we have never experienced such an increase in activity in such a short timeframe,” Boothe said.

The Medical Disposables boss said that in adjusting to conditions, “we have crafted a COVID-19 plan and a post-COVID-19 plan. We’ve assessed products in demand to get us through this crisis, as well as other areas that still need to be satisfied in the aftermath. The challenge is to adequately maintain stock of products demanded, at competitive prices to our fellow citizens, in a time of need.”

Asked about demand being experienced from other areas of the Caribbean and if the company would ramp up exports, Boothe said he was focusing on supplying the Jamaican market.

“As it relates to exports, I think this is a time that we are a little selfish in prioritizing Jamaica’s needs in this crisis; hence satisfying local healthcare demand is our current focus,” Boothe said.

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