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Amazon stops sale of N95 masks to public, prioritizing supplies for hospitals

Amazon stops sale of N95 masks to public, prioritizing supplies for hospitals
© UPI Photo

Amazon has stopped the sale of N95 masks to the public, deciding to only sell the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and government agencies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier in the week, the company rolled out a new section of its website dedicated to the sale of PPE such as surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves and large-volume sanitizers, Vox first reported. In order to buy the supplies, hospitals and agencies are prompted to fill out a form, which reads: “We are not accepting requests from individuals or non-qualified organizations at this time.”

An Amazon spokesperson also told CNBC that the website was also restricting the purchase of coronavirus diagnostic kits to ensure that hospitals and agencies are able to obtain them.

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The spokesman said that a number of other products, such as lower-volume hand sanitizers and hand wipes remain available to the general public. 

Amazon is purchasing the PPE through third-party sellers and encourages these parties to do so on the new section of their website.

To further push this, the company waived its referral fee that third-party sellers usually have to pay through June 30, according to the network. Normally, sellers must pay a referral fee on each item sold, with the fee amount changing based on the type of product.

The company has been a focus during the coronavirus pandemic. In early March, it announced that it would make changes to what items were stored in warehouses in an effort to keep essential items in stock.

It has also removed more than 1 million items from its platform that it says made misleading claims about the coronavirus, according to the CNBC report.