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Fighting COVID-19 together: Curbing price gouging and counterfeit activities.

doctor wearing n95 mask

The global pandemic is affecting every Canadian. In these times of need, I’m inspired every day by stories from colleagues and our community that demonstrate the many ways we’re adapting to keep each other safe and support one another.

Our top priorities at 3M Canada are the safety of our employees and supporting health professionals who are leading the fight against COVID-19 by increasing the availability of N95 respirators.

While we are working across the globe at 3M and with the local government to deliver N95 respirators as quickly as possible, we have received reports that there are some who are exploiting this crisis by marketing counterfeit products or increasing the price of our products.

This is extremely concerning. Counterfeit products may not meet the rigorous quality standards that our respirators are subjected to and put the lives of those battling this pandemic at risk. As for price gouging, it can result in people not being able to afford essential commodities to fight COVID-19.

I want to emphasize clearly that 3M’s pricing on all medical supplies including N95 respirators have remained exactly the same as they were before the pandemic. We are committed to maintaining our current pricing for equipment being used to help address the pandemic and we encourage the entire distribution ecosystem to follow suit.

"This activity is unethical and illegal, and we’re doing all we can to end it."  - Mike Roman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at 3M.

It's heartening to see Canadians stand up against price gouging and counterfeiting. At every level of our organisation, we're working closely with our partners to protect citizens from those looking to exploit this crisis and support the Ontario government’s emergency order against price gouging

Here are the actions we are taking to fight price gouging and counterfeit activities: 

  1. We are working with local law enforcement agencies to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. 
  2. A new 3M COVID-19 anti-fraud hotline for Canada and the U.S. has been created to counter the issue of price gouging and counterfeit activity. You can reach this hotline by calling: 1 (800) 426-8688.
  3. We have launched a COVID-19 anti-fraud page to combat this issue.
  4. We have published the prices of our N95 respirators for public knowledge. The prices for our range of N95 respirators in Canada are similar to the ones in the U.S. on a currency-adjusted basis. You can find the U.S. list prices for all our respirators here.

For more information, I encourage you to read this letter from 3M’s CEO Mike Roman to the U.S. Attorney General outlining our concern for this and support for taking action.

3M filed legal action on April 10 in a federal court in New York City against Performance Supply LLC alleging illegal price gouging and deceptive trade practices in the sales of N95 respirators. The defendant falsely claimed a business affiliation with 3M, offered to sell $45 million in N95 respirators to New York City officials at prices 500-600% over 3M’s list price. Read more here.

Tips to protect yourself against counterfeit activities.

Here are five tips to remember when sourcing our respirators that will help protect you from counterfeit activities:

  1. Remember, our range of respirators and products are manufactured by us in-house in our manufacturing plants across the globe. There are no third-party individuals or companies who manufacture 3M respirators and products.
  2. We do not have any minimum purchase volumes required for our products. You can purchase even single cases through our distribution partners.
  3. 3M respirators should be procured only in 3M packaging, with model-specific user instructions accompanying the product. Our respirators are not meant to be sold individually or without packaging (including user instructions).
  4. We have strict quality standards for our products, and ones that have missing straps, strange odors, blocked valves, misspelled words, etc. are likely not authentic 3M respirators.
  5. Expiration dates and shelf-life information for our respirators can usually be found on the side or bottom of the packaging. This information is important as over time, components such as the strap and nose foam may degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit and seal.

Resiliency is the need of the hour.

We are at a pivotal juncture in our fight against COVID-19. Through unity and by supporting each other, we will change the course of this pandemic. There is no stronger force than the one that brings us all together for a shared objective.

There are undoubtedly many challenges ahead, but I have faith that we will get through this together. In times of uncertainty, innovation and agility, combined with integrity and kindness, is key to our resilience.  

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About the Author

[enBio=Penny has more than 20 years of global brand and marketing experience, including Global Marketing Director of 3M’s Safety and Industrial Business Group, its largest business based at 3M global headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. Penny also led 3M’s 2015 global rebrand: “Science. Applied to Life.™” She started her career at 3M Canada in 2000 and in January 2020 moved back to Canada to take on the role of President. ],[enJob=President, 3M Canada],[frBio=Penny possède plus de 20 ans d’expérience en marque et en marketing à l’échelle mondiale, y compris en tant que directrice du marketing mondial au sein du Secteur sécurité et industriel de 3M, soit le plus important secteur de l’entreprise basé à son siège social mondial de St. Paul, au Minnesota. Penny a également dirigé le changement de la marque 3M à l’échelle mondiale en 2015 : « Science. Au service de la Vie.MC ». Elle a débuté sa carrière au sein de 3M Canada en 2000, puis elle est retournée au Canada en janvier 2020 pour occuper le poste de présidente. ],[frJob=Présidente, 3M Canada]

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Canada will continue to receive N95 respirators.
Help us combat fraud. Call 1 (800) 426-8688.