NEW YORK — Amazon said it blocked or removed over 1 million products for suspect or misleading claims. News outlets reported the items were removed because of price gouging or falsely advertising effectiveness against the coronavirus.
An Amazon spokesperson made the following statement about the items being removed:
"Amazon has always required sellers provide accurate information on product detail pages and we remove those that violate our policies."
The company's Selling Policies and Seller Code of Conduct requires all sellers to adhere to a list of policies when selling products on its site. Some offenses and prohibited content can result in the suspension of an Amazon account.
"We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers," an Amazon spokesperson told CNN Business. "We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies."
The Associated Press said that the fear of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on hand sanitizer, leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush.
The outbreak, which was first detected late last year in central China, has infected 90,000 people worldwide and killed some 3,100.
It's important to put the coronavirus numbers in context, millions of Americans get the flu every single year and there are thousands of flu deaths annually.
Since October 2019, the CDC estimates around 32 million Americans have gotten the flu. That’s one in every 10 Americans.
Since the coronavirus outbreak began late last year, there have been around 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases just in China. That means those cases account for just around 0.0056% of China's population.