Italian law enforcement authorities say they have been seizing hundreds of thousands of masks either counterfeited or illegally sold on the market.
The unlawful business hiked in the wake of the pandemic of coronavirus, with both legal and illegal businesses taking advantage of the increasing scarcity of items used for personal protection, Italy's Finance Police said.
Last week, law enforcement authorities ordered the closure of a pharmacy in Naples.
The pharmacy is accused of selling masks and other medical products at a price up to 6,000 percent higher than their fair market value, police said.
The goods were later delivered to several hospitals in Naples and in the region.
Finance police also said they seized counterfeit, unsafe items worth hundreds of thousands of Euros.
As Italy struggles to contain the virus, doctors and local authorities across the country have been warning medical goods such as masks are in scarce supply.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.