AS THE BLACK MARKET TRADE of its N95 respirator masks has continued to swell, pressure is mounting on 3M, which manufactures the masks and other protective gear, to crack down on price gouging among its distributors.
Tuesday, amid widespread reports that vendors of medical supplies are wildly overcharging for the desperately needed protective devices, the Minnesota-based company insisted that it is committed to combating the inflation of prices for its products used during the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement about both price gouging and the sale of counterfeit masks, which also appears to be a problem, 3M promised that it “will aggressively pursue third-parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We are working with law enforcement authorities around the world — including, in the U.S., the U.S. Attorney General, state Attorneys General, and local authorities.”
But some civic groups are asking the company to do more. The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, or Metro IAF, a Queens-based nonprofit, responded to 3M’s statement yesterday with a letter to the company’s CEO, Mike Roman, insisting that Roman make it clear to the company’s distributors that if they take advantage of the desperate need for protective gear they won’t be able to sell 3M’s products in the future. Intercept story here.