Many consumers around the country have complained about high prices for essential items during the coronavirus pandemic, but what is the cause?
Inside Edition investigated the sky-high costs of hand sanitizer.
At a pharmacy on New York City's swanky Upper East Side, our producers were charged $33 for three small spray pens of hand sanitizer. Each pen contained a third of an ounce of sanitizer. That’s almost $33 an ounce. The store's manager blamed the high price on its supplier. "It's the middlemen," he said. "They're charging outrageous prices right now."
We were told the same thing at a pharmacy in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Inside Edition producers were charged $22 for a 14-ounce bottle.
Just two months ago, we paid only $7 for a huge bottle of Purell that was more than twice the size.
When asked why the price for generic hand sanitizer was so high, a clerk at the pharmacy in New Jersey said it was based on what he was charged by the distributor. The clerk pulled out an invoice and pointed at the price. "They charge us 17 bucks each. It's insane," he said.
Inside Edition producer Josh Bernstein posed as a buyer and contacted the distributor for the New Jersey pharmacy, Akron Generics, in Long Island. He ordered 24 bottles of hand sanitizer and went to the sprawling warehouse to pick them up. A worker rolled out a cart with two small cases of hand sanitizer that cost $407. That's $16.99 a bottle.
The owner of the distribution company said the high price was caused by increased costs he was charged during the pandemic for the supplies he needs, adding that supply chains are opening up and he expects to reduce the price by up to 50%.