Venezuela chides Procter & Gamble over sanitary pad prices
By Girish Gupta and Corina Pons
CARACAS, June 16 (Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist government has criticized U.S.-based Procter & Gamble for charging "criminal" prices for sanitary towels selling for a fifth of the monthly minimum wage.
The Cincinnati-based company has introduced a new brand to its Venezuelan market, Always Postparto, selling for 1,389 bolivars per pack.
That equates to $3.50 on the currency black market, or $220 at the government's strongest official rate.
"This is a criminal act against the Venezuelan people," Minister for Women Gladys Requena told reporters.
"It's time to denounce Procter & Gamble which is playing its part in the economic war against the people of Venezuela."
President Nicolas Maduro's government frequently blames foreign businesses and U.S.-backed political opponents for deliberately damaging Venezuela's economy via hoarding, smuggling and price-gouging.
Procter & Gamble, however, said in a statement that the Always Postparto sanitary towels were just one of a range of brands on offer, with its basic Always product going for 19.7 bolivars - nearly 7,000 percent cheaper. The Postparto pads are a specialized product for women who have recently given birth.
"P&G Venezuela's commitment during 65 years of history in the country has always been to offer the best products for Venezuelan consumers," said the statement, published in local media. Continuación...