Purell makers say they have 'dramatically increased production'

As the coronavirus crisis drives a consumer scramble for hand sanitizer, the makers of Purell say they have ramped up production.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

The company that makes Purell has "dramatically increased production" as concern about the coronavirus has skyrocketed demand for hand sanitizer across the country.

Ohio-based Gojo Industries said in a statement to NBC News that "as a privately-held family enterprise, we don’t provide specific product demand information. What we can tell you is, we have dramatically increased production since the beginning of the year."

Hand sanitizer sales have increased more than 300% in one week alone, and major retailers like Target, Kroger, Publix and Stop & Shop have set limits on how much each shopper can buy.

The company that produces Purell hand sanitizer has dramatically increased production to meet demand amid concerns about the coronavirus. Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images

Publix is only allowing two items per visit for hand soaps and sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, facial masks and gloves, disinfectant wipes and sprays, facial tissue, and bleach.

Gojo Industries said in a list of frequently asked questions that it cannot comment on whether Purell kills the coronavirus, due to Food and Drug Administration regulations that prevent off-label claims about killing any specific virus.

The company says it has seen a "substantial increase" in demand, but it's "still below historic levels" compared to some past outbreaks.

Purell is made in Ohio and France, and the majority of its pumps and bottles are manufactured in North America, so the company said there is no potential disruption to the supply chain caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The surge in demand has also caused New York to take the dramatic step of producing its own hand sanitizer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Monday.

The state is using prison inmates to make free hand sanitizer for the public, and plans to produce 100,000 gallons a week.

"Hand sanitizer is regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug, and there are robust regulations around its manufacture and marketing to protect public health," Gojo Industries said. "We assume the State of New York and the company it has identified to produce hand sanitizer in its prisons understands all of this and will do what is needed to produce safe and effective product in a way that is fully compliant with all regulations and standards."

Cuomo said the move is also being made to stop price gouging, as $4.50 bottles of hand sanitizer were selling for $50 or more on Amazon last week.

"Amazon has reported that the abnormal pricing being seen on their website is being offered by third-party sellers, not Amazon, and that they are investigating and removing these offers as quickly as they can," Gojo Industries said in its statement.

Experts have also weighed in on whether it's safe for people to make their own hand sanitizer now that the commercial version is flying off the shelves.

Effective hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.