HHS used its authority under the Defense Production Act to distributing the confiscated supplies, which also included 598,000 medical grade gloves and 130,000 surgical masks, procedure masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters, bottles of hand sanitizer, and bottles of spray disinfectant.
“Cracking down on the hoarding of vital supplies allows us to distribute this material to the heroic healthcare workers on the frontlines who are most in need,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a news release.
HHS will pay the owner of the hoarded equipment pre-COVID-19 fair market value for the supplies
The N95 masks are especially important because health providers need them to protect themselves from the virus as they treat those infected by COVID-19. Even as manufacturers such as 3M (NYSE:MMM) have factories running around the clock, demand is exceeding supply.
President Donald Trump yesterday evening criticized 3M for selling some of its N95 masks to other countries; his administration is using the Defense Production Act to prioritize orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.