St Andrews students tackle COVID profiteering with cost price PPE

Two University of St Andrews students have set up an operation to provide the public with face masks at zero mark up to tackle rip-off sellers attempting to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cogan Wade and Frederik Filz von Reiterdank decided to set up Mask Bros after seeing the mark up price of face masks when they tried to source them for their student volunteering charity. Appalled at companies profiting from the pandemic, the students decided to use their contacts in China and Hong Kong to buy masks and respirators in bulk and resell them at cost price.

Cogan, who was the first student at St Andrews to contract COVID-19, said:

“We found out how hard it is to find a reliable supplier for smaller orders of PPE. And the ones that we could find charged us extortionate prices. One shop was offering them at £1.80 per mask while we now purchase the exact same ones for 29 pence.

“We established relationships with several European import and export companies that connected us with reliable PPE suppliers. We figured that more people must be struggling to acquire masks so they can safeguard themselves, their families, friends and customers.

“With the Scottish and UK governments now advising the wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces, it shouldn’t be so hard for the public to find quality protection at an affordable price.”

Mask Bros supply PPE at cost price plus a small flat fee to their shipping charge to maintain their website, cover the cost of packing materials, pay for inspections, compensate staff, and scale to offer more products at lower prices.

All products supplied by Mask Bros are made specifically for non-medical public use to ensure that frontline health workers are not deprived of vital medical equipment.