A major manufacturer of N95 masks is accusing a Delray Beach business of selling counterfeit N-95s, Contact 5 has learned.
According to a federal lawsuit filed in December in Minnesota, 3M alleges Nationwide Source of Delray Beach sold more than 10,000 counterfeit N95 masks to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
N95 respirator masks are considered the gold standard for protection among front-line workers for helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“A nurse at HCMC noticed that one of the respirator provided by defendant did not fit as expected, and suspected that the respirator may have been a counterfeit product,” the lawsuit said.
3M claims it confirmed the N95 was a counterfeit, and Nationwide Source is not an authorized dealer of the company’s products. Court records show a judge granted 3M a preliminary injunction on Jan. 15.
According to federal court records, Nationwide Source has not filed a response to the litigation and does not have an attorney listed representing the company.
Mary Turner, the head of the Minnesota Nurses Association, credits that nurse for noticing the masks didn’t fit as expected.
“If it wasn’t for that nurse and her vigilance … I can only imagine how many of the nurses would have gotten sick,” Turner told Contact 5 in an interview.
The lawsuit filed by 3M accuses Nationwide Source of selling the masks at a markup of 625%.
The filing also includes screenshots of Nationwide Source’s Twitter handle and claims the Delray Beach business “prominently advertises purported 3M N95 respirators for sale on its social media sites.”