3M sues to stop distributor that sold 10,000+ counterfeit N95 masks to HCMC

Close-up of N95 respirator mask during an outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus, San Francisco, California, March 30, 2020. (Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images)

3M officials say ill-fitting masks at Hennepin County Medical Center were counterfeits sold to the hospital by an unauthorized distributor.

In an email, the company says Hennepin County Medical Center bought more than 10,000 counterfeit 3M-branded N95 masks from a Florida-based distributor called Nationwide Source.

3M says the hospital thought Nationwide was an authorized distributor of the masks but ended up paying 625 percent above 3M's list price for the fakes.

The issue was brought to the attention of hospital officials in December after a nurse raised concerns about the masks not fitting correctly.

HCMC began looking into the issue and, with help from 3M, learned the masks were counterfeits. After concerns were raised, the hospital pulled all the masks from circulation.

3M says it has now taken legal action against Nationwide to prevent the company from selling the masks. Friday, a district court granted an injunction to stop sales from Nationwide.