TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese drugstore chain Great Tree Pharmacy (大樹連鎖藥局) on Wednesday (Sept. 16) admitted that employees at one branch had sold masks made in the Philippines to customers who believed they were part of the Taiwanese government's real-name mask rationing system.
In response to reports that the pharmacy chain had been passing off Philippine-made masks as official government-rationed ones, the firm on Wednesday blamed its employees for selling the wrong masks due to "personal negligence," reported Liberty Times. The company said it has provided the relevant information to the authorities and that the branch involved has temporarily suspended all operations and will cooperate with officials in investigating the case.
On Aug. 31, a female teacher used her National Health Insurance card to purchase five packs of what she believed to be government-rationed masks at a Great Tree Pharmacy on Xiyuan Road in Taipei. When she returned home, she found that instead of the label "Made in Taiwan," 36 masks in four of the packages were labeled "Med Tecs," reported UDN.
Example of a face mask with Med Tecs label. (Taiwan News photo)
She began to suspect that they could be counterfeit. When she contacted Med Tecs, she was told that the masks were made in the Philippines.
According to Great Tree Pharmacy, the Philippine-made masks are medical grade and have been approved by Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration. The company claimed that it had not purchased the masks directly from Med Tecs (美德醫公司) but through qualified channels.
The drugstore chain denied it had intentionally harmed the interests of consumers for the sake of profit. The company has reiterated its apology to the public and pledged to strengthen management and supervision in the future.