PHOENIX—Reps. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego today demanded Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to prioritize the safety of health care workers and public safety officers and stop medical supply vendors and manufacturers from price gouging.
In a letter to Brnovich, the Congressmen write, “As Arizona’s top law enforcement officer, we believe that you can and should do much more to ensure that nobody profits from this or any other state emergency.”
Stanton and Gallego first called attention to this issue earlier this week after learning that vendors who regularly supply the City of Phoenix with medical supplies were attempting to charge nearly 600 percent above typical prices for N95 masks. On April 1, they demanded action on the matter from U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons.
Governor Doug Ducey has already issued an executive order to address price gouging “in relation to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment-related services” and directed the Attorney General to “vigorously prosecute complaints of consumer fraud in relation.” But Brnovich’s office has claimed there aren’t existing state statutes to support such prosecution.
“We believe that is a narrow, short-sighted, and frankly dangerous interpretation of Arizona consumer protection laws that prohibit fraud, the scope of which includes coercing health care providers to pay excessively high prices for supplies essential to public health, safety and wellness during an emergency,” the Congressmen wrote in their letter to Brnovich.
The full text of the letter is available here.