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3M Suit Charges New Jersey Company With N95 Mask Price Gouging

A suit by 3M claims that Performance Supply LLC offered to sell New York City $45 million of masks at prices six to seven times higher than its own list price.

Industrial-product major 3M  (MMM) - Get Report filed a lawsuit against Performance Supply in federal court in Manhattan, alleging that the company was price gouging in sales of the N95 respirator mask.

3M's lawsuit claims that New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC offered to sell New York City officials $45 million in N95 masks at prices that are six to seven times more than 3M's list price.

The suit also alleges that Performance Supply falsely claimed a business affiliation with 3M while negotiating with the city. 

"3M does not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception, or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic,” said Denise Rutherford, 3M’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, in a statement.

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The St. Paul, Minn., company says it will work with national and international law enforcement as well as major online retail and tech companies worldwide to identify illegal activity. 

"The goal is to prevent fraud before it starts and stop it where it is happening," 3M said in a statement Friday. 

N95 masks are filtering face-piece respirators that are regulated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

The masks have been in high demand in recent weeks as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 100,000 people worldwide. 

3M and Honeywell (HON) - Get Report are two of the companies selling the masks as municipalities  worldwide have increased demand for the product.