3M has filed a lawsuit against a Florida company for allegedly trying to sell millions of N95 protective masks to a federal stockpile at grossly inflated prices.
N95 protective masks are considered the gold standard because they block 95% of particulates and are in short supply at health care facilities dealing with the current viral pandemic.
Maplewood-based 3M — which last week announced legal action against a New Jersey company and also filed other suits in Texas and California — took legal action late Tuesday to stop Orlando-based Geftico LLC from falsely claiming affiliation with 3M.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told 3M that Geftico tried twice to sell millions of N95 masks to the Division of Strategic National Stockpile.
The company allegedly claimed that the high asking price was the result of 3M raising its price. In a news release Wednesday, 3M reiterated that it has not raised the price of N95 masks because of the pandemic. The company also said that the masks Geftico claimed to have likely did not exist.
"3M will continue to take action against those who exploit the demand for N95 respirators used by health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight," Denise Rutherford, 3M's senior vice president for corporate affairs, said in a statement. "We will continue to work with state, federal and international law enforcement to root out illegal behavior and put a stop to it."
3M is asking for Geftico to pay damages for its misrepresentation and promised to donate any court-ordered payment by Geftico to coronavirus-related nonprofits.
Geftico LLC could not be reached for comment.
Other legal actions by 3M include a request for a cease-and-desist order against Performance Supply of New Jersey, which 3M said tried to sell N95 masks to New York City officials at a 600% markup over list price. 3M also sued a Utah company, RX2Live LLC, for offering to sell overpriced masks to a California medical center and an individual in Texas who claimed to have a business relationship with 3M that allowed him to provide masks.