Coronavirus: Louis Vuitton owner to start making hand sanitiser for hospitals

French luxury group LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault is donating 200m

LVMH Moët Hennessy, the French company behind major brands like Louis Vuitton, Fenty Beauty, and Benefit Cosmetics, announced Sunday its factories that normally manufacture perfume will shift to manufacturing hand sanitizer gel.

“LVMH will use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands … to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels from Monday,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The company said it would be delivering the products to French healthcare authorities for free. According to March 12 data from the World Health Organization, France so far has dealt with 2269 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus that have led to 48 deaths.

The move comes amid a global shortage of alcohol-based sanitizers, which have been recommended by the CDC as a tool to avoid the spread of COVID-19. According to Bloomberg, a shortage of alcohol-based sanitizers has prompted policy changes by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA encouraged licensed pharmacists and doctors to create their own hand sanitizers and sell them to customers amid a shortage in the US. The agency said over the weekend that since pharmacists and doctors “are more familiar with standards and methods for producing drug products than “untrained” consumers. 

The agency requires pharmacists and doctors to create the sanitizer using its recipe that calls for specific quantities of ingredients like alcohol, glycerol, hydrogen peroxide, and sterile water, Bloomberg reported.

A pharmacy in New York City last week offered its customers instructions on how they could make their own hand sanitizer after it sold out of the product — but provided an inaccurate recipe that did not meet CDC guidelines.

Titos Handmade Vodka last month had to tell customers that its vodka could not be used as a hand sanitizer under CDC guidelines after people on social media shared they were using it as a sanitizer. Titos Vodka contains just 40% alcohol whereas the CDC requires an alcohol-based hand sanitizer contains 60% alcohol. 

On March 9, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state was using labor from prison inmates to manufacture 100,000 gallons of hand sanitizer each week. 

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