HARRISBURG – Attorney General Shapiro has joined Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and 19 Attorneys General in urging 3M to do more to combat inflated prices of N95 respirators and other desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE). There has been a critical shortage of PPE across the country and distributors have been taking advantage of that and charging higher than normal prices for N95 face masks and other PPE. The Attorneys General highlight that, while 3M has committed to maintaining previous prices for N95 respirators, distributors and others in the marketplace have been charging unconscionable prices. As a large producer of these items, 3M has a unique ability to use its force in the market to rein in price gouging further down the supply chain.
“Healthcare workers are on the frontlines of this emergency, and must have the protection they need to keep themselves, their patients, and their families safe,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “It is ludicrous that distributors would attempt to make a cynical profit from essential equipment. I’m grateful to the Attorneys General throughout the country who have partnered to protect healthcare workers and put a stop to distributors’ unethical and illegal practices. 3M has the ability to do more to help us in this effort, and they have a responsibility to step up to the plate and join us in this fight.”
In the letter, the Attorneys General say “It is crucial that hospitals, healthcare workers, and first responders have access to these masks and other PPE and that they are able to obtain them at reasonable prices so that they can care for patients with COVID-19 as well as others needing medical attention.”
The letter asks 3M to take the following actions, in addition to the steps they have already taken, to try work towards eliminating price gouging of PPE:
Continue to publish policies prohibiting price gouging by its distributors and cease doing business with those distributors who violate them.
Create a database of 3M’s inventory of N95 respirators for government officials and healthcare providers.
Make transparent how inventory is being distributed and how orders are being filed.
Today’s effort and was led by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.