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State of Minnesota and 3M partner to remove 500,000 counterfeit N95 respirators from circulation

12/22/2020 12:35:27 PM

Saint Paul - Working together, the State of Minnesota and 3M partnered to prevent 500,000 counterfeit N95 respirators from being distributed to Minnesota healthcare facilities. The counterfeit respirators, valued at $2.1 million, will be turned over to 3M for destruction.

The State Emergency Operations Center’s Critical Care Supplies Work Group ordered the 3M branded N95 Respirators, Model 1860, as emergency supplies should hospitals and clinics be unable to procure their own personal protective equipment (PPE). The vendor, Supply Link, Inc., contracted with the State to provide the respirators. The State of Minnesota does not generally pay for personal protective equipment until the items have been received; no public funds were expended for this order.

“Protecting the health and safety of frontline health care workers is our top priority,” said Administration Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis. “Part of sourcing scarce personal protective equipment in an intensively competitive environment is ensuring authenticity and effectiveness before delivery to healthcare facilities. Our partnership with Minnesota’s leading businesses such as 3M has been instrumental in providing reliable products.”

Amid increasing reports of counterfeiting and fraud, 3M has been working with the State of Minnesota and other states across the country in verifying the authenticity of offers of what are claimed to be 3M respirators.

At the request of the State of Minnesota, 3M inspected the respirators and determined the products were not authentic. In a cease and desist letter, 3M requested the vendor to immediately surrender the counterfeit masks for removal from circulation. Supply Link, Inc. has cooperated with the request.

“3M is proud to have worked with State of Minnesota to prevent the purchase and distribution of these counterfeit respirators. 3M is making more N95s than ever before and we will continue to take action against those exploiting the demand for these critical products.” said Denise Rutherford, 3M Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs.

Since the pandemic began, 3M has launched a global effort to fight fraud, counterfeiting and price-gouging. The company has worked with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world to seize more than 7 million counterfeit respirators.

To protect the safety of healthcare workers, the State’s Critical Care Supplies Work Group works closely with area healthcare facilities and businesses to vet products and potential vendors. The work group sends N95 respirator samples to local hospitals to ensure that they meet federal fit test and filtration standards before purchasing. Respirators purchased by the state have been primarily through 3M-authorized distributors.


State Warehouse – The state’s critical care supplies serve as a safety net in case hospitals and other healthcare providers are unable to source enough PPE to meet pandemic response needs. Hospitals and other healthcare providers can requisition PPE from the state warehouse as a bridge to address their inventory shortfalls.

Critical Care Supplies Work Group – Governor Walz established the Critical Care Supplies work group in March to source the personal protective equipment, or PPE, needed for front line healthcare workers.

In addition to actively working with government entities and law enforcement to combat respirator fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging, 3M provides the public with information on how to locate authorized distributors, identify and avoid counterfeits, and report fraudulent offers. For more information, visit

By the end of 2020, 3M will have produced 2 billion respirators globally – tripling production since 2019. Nearly half of those are N95 respirators are being delivered to Minnesota and other states in the U.S. 3M’s monthly production of N95 respirators in the U.S. alone will have increased from 22 million in 2019 to 95 million by the end of 2020.


For additional information, please contact:
Curt Yoakum, Assistant Commissioner
(651) 201-2771

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