Members of the public and private hospitals which wish to have their mask supplies restocked should contact the Commerce Ministry’s Internal Trade Department (ITD), he said.
The ministry was not obliged to distribute, sell or hand out free face masks to the public unless there are surpluses from hospitals under its management, he added.
Currently, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) is selling 10,000 surplus face masks from government-run hospitals to the public each day, he said.
Mr Anutin made the remarks in response to a letter sent by the Private Hospital Association on Friday (Feb 27), asking him to help private hospitals affected by shortages of face masks as demand continues to surge.
The association said private hospitals have not been able to buy face masks after the ITD declared face masks a controlled-price good and required manufacturers to send them directly to the ITD.
Private hospitals tried to buy them from the ITD, but they were told to join a queue, it claimed.
Mr Anutin said that this week the ministry will send 500,000 face masks to its hospitals.
The GPO has a stock of 1.4 million face masks. A total of 200,000 face masks will be distributed at the ministry’s compound in Nonthaburi today (Mar 2) and tomorrow.