- 3M is one of the latest U.S. firms to have the Defense Production Act invoked against it.
- The conglomerate will now be forced to sell N95 respirator masks to the federal government.
- Demand for the respirator masks used by healthcare personnel currently outstrips supply.
As President Trump starts to use his wartime powers to ramp up production of equipment needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, some U.S. firms are starting to feel his wrath. The latest is applied sciences conglomerate 3M (NYSE:MMM).
In a tweet, Trump announced he had invoked the Defense Production Act against 3M. The move will force 3M to sell its N95 respirator masks to the federal government in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said 3M will pay a “big price” but didn’t detail the company’s specific failings:
During a Coronavirus Taskforce briefing, Trump claimed that 3M was selling N95 masks to other countries while the U.S. experienced a shortage.
Florida accuses 3M of putting foreigners first
Trump wasn’t the lone voice criticizing 3M. On Tucker Carlson Tonight, Florida’s Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz complained that he had failed to secure protective masks from 3M distributors even after offering to pay 10-20 times higher than normal:
For the last several weeks, we have had a boiler room chasing down 3M authorized distributors … brokers representing that they sell the N95 masks, only get to warehouses that are completely empty.
Besides facing the wrath of federal and state governments, 3M has also invited the ire of the private sector.
Late last month, billionaire business mogul Mark Cuban criticized 3M for failing to act on price gouging. While 3M claims its prices for protective equipment hasn’t changed following the coronavirus pandemic, its network of resellers seem to be taking advantage of the situation.
Cuban, who has been trying to purchase N95 respirators to donate to medical personnel, termed the behavior…