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3M CEO: Our medical masks should not be showing up in stores

Every respirator mask that's available right now should be going to a healthcare worker on the front lines, caring for coronavirus-infected patients. They sh...

Posted: Mar 23, 2020 2:42 PM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 12:15 PM

Every respirator mask that's available right now should be going to a healthcare worker on the front lines, caring for coronavirus-infected patients. They should not be sold in stores to consumers, said 3M CEO Mike Roman in a CNBC interview Monday.

3M is the largest maker of medical face masks, specifically the N95 respirator mask.

Roman also said 3M is working with federal and state authorities to curb counterfeiting and price gouging of its products and devices, including the masks.

'We are in the process of working with large e-marketplace operators on a coordinated strategy and action plan to identify and remove counterfeiters and price gougers and to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement authorities,' Roman wrote in a letter Tuesday to Attorney General William Barr.

Hospitals nationwide are facing an acute shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) such as N95 masks, gloves and surgical gowns amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the United States, more than 38,000 Americans have been infected across all 50 states, and at least 414 people have died.

In light of this desperate need, Roman said 3M's N95 masks should not be showing up in stores, he told CNBC.

Roman said he was 'disappointed' that the masks were selling in some stores over the weekend, alluding to Target.

Target said a select number of stores in the Seattle area were selling the N95 masks 'in error.'

'We apologize for our error. We worked quickly to remove these masks from our stores and donated them to the Washington State Department of Health for distribution to local hospitals,' a Target spokesperson told CNN Business.

The retailer said it has thoroughly reviewed its full inventory for any additional masks and will donate them the medical community.

Calls out counterfeiting and price gouging

Roman said 3M will not increase prices for respirators despite the surging demand.

In the letter to Barr, he said individuals and organizations that are engaging in profiteering from its products amid the coronavirus pandemic are engaging in 'unethical actions' and that 3M would work with authorities to hold them accountable.

Pressure is mounting on medical equipment makers to quickly boost production to meet the rapidly rising new cases of coronavirus infections.

Roman said 3M has ramped up production of N95 respirators and doubled its global output to nearly 100 million per month.

'In the United States we are producing 35 million respirators per month. Of these, more than 90% are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies,' Roman said in a Linkedin post on Sunday.

He said more than 500,000 respirators are being sent this week to some of the more critically impacted areas, such as New York and Seattle. About half of the total coronavirus cases in the United States are in New York State.

'I want people to know we are doing all we can to meet the demands of this extraordinary time and get supplies from our plants to where they're most needed as quickly as possible,' he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 151802

Reported Deaths: 4746
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27119607
Cuyahoga17554656
Hamilton13237315
Montgomery7938164
Lucas7343364
Butler6085111
Summit5366252
Warren311549
Marion311147
Mahoning3095281
Stark2913175
Pickaway267944
Lorain233386
Delaware230621
Fairfield213253
Licking194963
Columbiana194080
Wood192172
Trumbull1916132
Clark183940
Clermont174423
Lake164851
Greene149034
Medina147539
Miami146351
Allen146269
Portage116866
Mercer113218
Erie95947
Tuscarawas94120
Wayne94068
Richland92219
Ross89624
Madison84312
Darke80643
Geauga72649
Athens7242
Belmont72427
Hancock72010
Lawrence67122
Ashtabula66048
Shelby66010
Putnam61923
Auglaize6119
Sandusky58020
Huron5557
Union5512
Scioto5167
Seneca48814
Ottawa47130
Preble44515
Muskingum4383
Holmes3959
Jefferson3384
Henry33414
Defiance33012
Champaign3133
Logan3133
Clinton30213
Perry3009
Brown2922
Knox28815
Washington26223
Jackson2616
Morrow2612
Fulton2591
Hardin25713
Crawford2476
Ashland2464
Coshocton23411
Fayette2336
Highland2303
Williams2143
Wyandot21312
Pike2020
Gallia19613
Meigs17610
Guernsey1738
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1364
Van Wert1243
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton473
Noble340
Unassigned00
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