(Reuters) — Amazon has barred greater than 1 million merchandise from sale in latest weeks that had inaccurately claimed to remedy or defend in opposition to the coronavirus, the corporate instructed Reuters on Thursday.

Amazon additionally eliminated tens of hundreds of offers from retailers that it mentioned tried to price-gouge prospects. The world’s largest on-line retailer has confronted scrutiny over the health-related presents on its platform, and earlier this week Italy launched a probe into surging costs across the web for sanitizing gels and hygiene masks whereas it battled the largest outbreak in Europe.

The coronavirus has triggered no less than 2,797 deaths globally. New reported infections all over the world now exceed these from mainland China, the place the flu-like illness arose two months in the past out of an unlawful wildlife market. Governments from Australia to Iran have closed colleges, scrapped occasions and stockpiled medical provides to comprise the virus’s unfold.

One supply comparability website confirmed latest examples of higher-than-usual costs for masks on Amazon made by U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co.

A service provider Thursday supplied a 10-pack of N95 masks for $128, a Reuters reporter noticed when clicking via the shopping for choices on Amazon. That was up from a latest vendor common value of $41.24, in accordance with the monitoring web site camelcamelcamel.com. The merchandise was not obtainable in a test later within the day.

A two-pack respirator was supplied new at $24.99 earlier this week by a third-party vendor, up from a latest common of $6.65 when bought by Amazon, the price-following website confirmed.

“There isn’t a place for value gouging on Amazon,” a spokeswoman mentioned in an announcement, citing the corporate’s coverage that product info have to be correct and that Amazon can take down presents that damage buyer belief, together with when pricing “is considerably greater than latest costs supplied on or off Amazon.”

It declined to specify the precise threshold at which an merchandise is taken into account unfairly priced.

The corporate mentioned it has monitored for value spikes and false claims via a mixture of automated and guide evaluate of listings.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Modifying by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman)

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