1. 3M United States
  2. Coronavirus
  3. US Public Policy
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3M is dedicated to increasing supply to help protect citizens.

3M has a unique and critical role in the fight against COVID-19
We understand the extraordinary challenges facing health care workers every day and we’re committed to serving them as they fight COVID-19. Therefore, 3M is dedicated to transforming our supply chain to support U.S. demand for N95 Respirators during this difficult time. We are working around the clock and closely with the U.S. Administration to meet the United States’ needs.
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Understanding U.S. Production Capabilities

What we are doing

At 3M we are dedicated to improving and transforming our supply chain to help better protect citizens.

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    24/7 Production
    More than quadrupled monthly U.S. respirator production, resulting in more than 95 million respirators per month.
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    Accelerated Production of Other Solutions
    Including biopharma filtration for vaccines and therapies, hand sanitizers and disinfectants.
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    Majority of N95 Production for Healthcare
    Helping frontline workers and first responders get needed protective equipment.
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    Authentication and Combatting Price Gouging
    Helping identify authentic 3M products and stopping those exploiting demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic.
3M Actions to deliver respirators within the U.S. video

Prioritizing supplies to most critical areas.

  • 3M respirators boxed on pallets ready for shipping
    • Since April, 3M has been working with FEMA to distribute N95s to hospitals, frontline workers and other critical areas.
    • 3M is eager to assist efforts to address rural and underserved areas with data-driven distribution.
    • As a leading proponent of efforts to ensure strong collaboration and information sharing between industry and government, 3M is also pleased to be one of the first manufacturers to join the newly-formed, DPA 708 panel that was created to address COVID response.  This panel – which is comprised of manufacturers, distributors, government entities, trade associations, and others – will enable key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to share information, discuss response strategies, and otherwise ensure our nation is able to continue to improve our collective response to COVID-19.

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Equitable Distribution to Rural and Underserved Areas

During the COVID-19 pandemic, providing critically needed protection for health care workers, first responders, and critical infrastructure has been a top priority for 3M.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3M has been serving the needs of frontline medical workers and first responders via distribution and government-managed stockpiles

  • Over the past year, 3M has delivered 300 million respirators to healthcare customers in the U.S..
  • 3M is also filling significant orders at the U.S. federal, state and local level which are also serving the public sector, and specifically public health

  • 3M delivers respiratory protection to healthcare providers at the local level through national medical distributors and through FEMA, with FEMA distributing these respirators to state and local governments.

    • While 3M receives data from our distributors indicating the amount of product that was delivered to a specific customer, we unfortunately do not have visibility of the inventory levels of those healthcare entities. Similarly, for orders delivered to government, we do not have visibility of the inventory levels of the healthcare recipients who subsequently receive PPE from these agencies.

    3M recognizes there are reported gaps in underserved communities, especially in rural and minority areas, and we are working with our partners to close these gaps and solve the “last mile” distribution challenges.

    Better management of the current supply can help address ongoing shortages. Knowing the quantity healthcare providers have on hand at the local level and information about projected utilization rates will enable better management. The federal government should have the ability to gather these data during a pandemic, and then use the data to help address areas of need.

    Outstanding orders are not the best measure of need; rather, the actual level of supply on hand – and the rate at which that supply will be used – is the best way to define need and project demand.

    • For example, if one healthcare facility has a three-month supply of PPE on hand and another has only a one-week supply, the second facility clearly has a more urgent need – and should be prioritized regardless of which facility has an outstanding order.

    The key to solving the “last mile” issue is the gathering and utilization of data – and 3M is eager to work with the federal government to address this challenge and better serve all healthcare providers, including underserved areas.

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Defense Production Act (DPA) Authority for COVID-19 Response

The U.S. Defense Production Act (DPA) is the primary source of Presidential authority to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support federal agencies in response to a wide range of emergencies, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 3M has been directly involved with several DPA programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

    • Title I – Rated Orders
      • Providing the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) with 172.9 million N95 respirators.
      • Providing a total of 228.4 million N95, KN95, and KN90 respirators from 3M plants in the APAC region for FEMA to import to the U.S..

    • Title III – Capacity Expansion
      • Increasing our U.S. production through the addition of four new respirator manufacturing lines (supported, in part, by Title III).
        • Assisted 3M’s effort to increase U.S. capacity from 22 million per month pre-COVID to more than 95 million per month today.

    • Title VII – Voluntary Agreement Across Government and Industry
      • Participating in current collaborative effort with industry, government, and others to identify and advance solutions to COVID-19.
        • First manufacturer to join current Title VII team; urging others to join.
        • Repeatedly called for such a collaborative approach throughout 2020.

  • The following are key takeaways from 3M’s experience with the DPA during the COVID-19 pandemic that can help inform future U.S. government actions for a more effective response going forward:

    • If used appropriately, DPA can be a very effective tool.
      • Ensures key needs are filled in a timely manner.
      • Supports more rapid expansion of domestic capacity.
      • Encourages collaboration between industry, federal agencies, and state and local governments.

    • Key Considerations
      • DPA actions should apply equally and equitably to all providers of a product category.
        • Do not target only select manufacturers
        • Do not disadvantage U.S. manufacturers vis-a-vis foreign manufacturers
      • DPA does not resolve “last mile” issues for distribution (e.g. the lack of PPE for rural and underserved areas).
        • Data from end-users relative to actual supplies on hand and utilization rates are needed to ensure efficient and equitable distribution, with the federal government gathering the data.
      • Engage with producers and suppliers early in the process to collaborate on rapid solutions.
        • Can often lead to more rapid responses without the DPA even being invoked.
      • Understand the role of U.S. suppliers in providing countermeasures to neighboring countries.
        • Controlling the outbreak in other regions can help prevent spread of COVID to the U.S..
      • Ensure full transparency on DPA-related contracts and awards.

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Production and Stockpile Policy Recommendations

Through global challenge of all kinds, 3M has partnered with governments and industry partners to help the world recover. In our experience, there are three key elements that make the difference between success and failure – management, manufacturing and mobility.

Read the 3M COVID-19 Policy White Paper

  • “It’s really about being ready for that surge in demand from whatever crisis may hit.” — Mike Roman, 3M CEO, CNBC Interview, Apr 28, 2020

    The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) – which is managed under the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – is the United States’ largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency.

    When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile seeks to ensure the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, the SNS is intended to contain enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously. However, the US stockpile is currently filled with products that are procured in infrequent, large purchases. As a result, the following problems can arise both prior to and during a public health emergency:

    • Products may be depleted over time and not restocked due to lack of federal appropriations, lack or prioritization, etc.
    • Availability of products is hampered as we live in a world of just-in-time production and just-in-time consumption, with the supply chain being designed and optimized to carry as little excess inventory as possible. Spikes in demand during a surge event — such as during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak — cannot be met by suppliers who do not have the available capacity.
    • Products in the stockpile that are purchased in large, single blocks at random times expire all at once at the end of the shelf life.
    • Once peak demand for products ends, it is equally challenging for industry to phase-down their production.

    We support a revolving stockpile for PPE and are actively engaged in discussion on Capitol Hill on how to improve the United States’ preparedness (something we’ve been advocating for over a decade). Changes to the management of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) would greatly improve our nation's preparedness for public health emergencies.

    The revolving stockpile approach we suggest could include:

    • Respirators are purchased from manufacturers/suppliers at prevailing government prices.
    • Government owns the inventory.
    • Government allows industry partners to store, manage and rotate stock according to its shelf-life.
    • Vendors charge a monthly inventory management fee for stock rotation.

    For respiratory protection, the SNS management system should be modified from the current model that is based on large, infrequent purchases to a "revolving" method, such as is currently utilized by the DLA. Such a system would ensure supply of PPE will be immediately available to the government when needed; products would no longer risk being expired, as they would be continually rotated; demand surges would be less problematic, due to supplies being continually maintained in the stockpile; and costs to government would be better managed over time, rather than relying on single, large purchases.

  • 3M’s facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Valley, Nebraska have been a key part of the Company’s manufacturing strategy of personal protective equipment for decades, and now more so throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Prior to this pandemic, 3M was one of the only companies to both manufacture and sell N95 respirators in the United States.

    The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts awarded to 3M have allowed the Company to increase production of N95 respirators with the addition of new equipment. Construction of this new equipment began in Wisconsin in May 2020, and was built and installed in a mere 10 weeks, the fastest on record. An additional two lines were built and installed at 3M Aberdeen in November 2020. The equipment originally installed in Wisconsin will be relocated to a new 120,000 square foot expansion in the Aberdeen facility. The Company expects to hire at least 100 new employees as a result of this build.

    These investments have significantly increased 3M’s capacity to produce N95 respirators in the United States – rising to more than 95 million per month by the end of 2020, quadrupling our domestic production from 2019.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • 3M has not increased its prices for N95 respirators as a result of the pandemic. We do not – and will not – condone price gouging, fraud, deception or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic. We’re working with law enforcement agencies around the world to aggressively pursue third parties that seek to take advantage of this crisis. We have filed lawsuits in the United States and Canada to fight fraud and have won multiple temporary restraining and preliminary injunction orders in these cases to put a stop the defendants' unlawful activities. All monetary damages we have recovered in these actions has been donated COVID-19 relief efforts. We’re also, in coordination with e-marketplace operators, making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.
  • 3M is continuing to work with its authorized healthcare distributors to ensure our N95s are being delivered to the areas where they are needed most, including healthcare workers and first responders. With respect to healthcare distribution, the majority of our N95 respirators are distributed through the six major healthcare distributors in the United States, with the remaining healthcare distribution going to large self-distributed hospital IDNs (Integrated Delivery Networks) and smaller healthcare distributors. 3M provides daily updates to FEMA on exactly which healthcare distributor or self-distributed IDN we shipped N95 respirators to and to which distribution center by city and state. In return, each healthcare distributor provides daily point of sale data back to 3M and FEMA when the end user receives units of N95 respirators.
  • 3M’s supply chain has long benefited from NAFTA, and will benefit even more from USMCA. As part of our growth strategy, 3M has manufacturing operations to serve local and regional markets, including the United States. Our supply chains were designed around the ability to serve both Canada and Latin America from U.S. production. Currently, we export less than 10% of our N95s made in the USA to the healthcare and critical infrastructure sectors in each of those countries. We have also brought equipment into the U.S. to support our increased domestic production efforts.
  • We have been closely collaborating with U.S. Administration, FDA, HHS, DoD, DHS, and FEMA to increase production and import more than 228 million respirators. We have been working with the FDA and CDC since the beginning of March to make respirators available to health care personnel and are working with the Department of Defense to increase production and ensure supplies are delivered efficiently.
  • As of late fall 2020, 3M produced N95 respirators at a rate of more than 95 million per month in the US, with the majority going to health care and public health workers. The remainder is deployed to other critical industries that support the economy - as well as contribute to building stockpiles at the federal, state and local level.
  • 3M and the medical distributors are working closely with FEMA to identify hot spots and the needs of states to our distributor network. 3M manufacturers the N95 respirators and then works with the distributors who are responsible for taking N95 units the final mile to the end-user (hospitals and healthcare settings). Traditionally, 75 percent of 3M’s medical/surgical respirators went to hospitals. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 3M has tripled the amount of our medical/surgical respirators to hospitals. As the risk of COVID-19 increased and the unprecedented demand for PPE across the country increased, 3M also began supplying hospitals with our standard/industrial N95 respirators.

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Articles, Videos and News Stories

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Fighting Fraud & Counterfeit Activity

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    • 3M has not increased its prices for N95 respirators as a result of the pandemic, while also publishing the list prices for many N95 respirator models to help the public identify and avoid price gougers.
    • 3M created a hotline for users to call and get information on identifying authentic 3M products: (800) 426-8688.
    • Report suspected fraud or price gouging here, or call 1-(800)-426-8688
    • 3M has not increased its prices for N95 respirators as a result of the pandemic, while also publishing the list prices for many N95 respirator models to help the public identify and avoid price gougers.
    • 3M created a hotline for users to call and get information on identifying authentic 3M products: .(800) 426-8688.
    • Report suspected fraud or price gouging here, or call 1-(800)-426-8688
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    • 3M is actively working with law enforcement agencies to help identify and eliminate price gougers.
    • 3M has also launched various lawsuits against price gougers and companies manufacturing counterfeit and fraudulent respirators which you can learn more about here.
    • 3M has ended relationships with distributors who have violated our strict standards and will continue to do so.

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Our Commitments in Action

  • 3M is committed to helping teachers and students as they adapt to a new way of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we have created a series of videos which explore a variety of scientific topics. 

  • In its continued effort to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic, 3M has provided $20 million in financial support to frontline healthcare workers, vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the virus and medical research initiatives.

  • 3M is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic from all angles and across all relevant stakeholders. View our FAQs, latest news and critical 3M products and resources supporting the fight against COVID-19.

  • Explore the steps we have taken to support the world's response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    January 2021

    • 3M releases report, “Helping protect lives, save global economies by applying lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic,” where it shares its recommendations on identifying future challenges and how to develop public-private partnerships to help solve them.
    • 3M donates more than 400 N95 respirators for attendees of the 59th U.S. Presidential Inauguration.
    • 3M’s global production of N95 respirators reached an annual rate of 2.5 billion, a fourfold increase over 2019

    December 2020

    • 3M and other industry leaders partnered with XPRIZE to hold the Next-Gen Mask Challenge which invited young inventors to develop next generation face masks to help slow COVID-19.
    • 3M supported the UN designation of Dec. 27 as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.
    • 3M was recognized as “Supplier of the Year" by Supply Chain Dive for its leadership and supply chain risk management during the pandemic.
    • 3M’s production rate of N95 respirators exceeds 95 million per month in the U.S. Globally, 3M produced 2 billion respirators in 2020 – tripling production since 2019.

    November 2020

    October 2020

    • 3M expanded its region-specific resources to report and combat fraud around the world in order to help ensure a safe supply of needed personal protective equipment. Hotlines are now available around the world. 
    • 3M successfully completed the delivery of more than 228 million disposable respirators to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, in fulfillment of a rated order under the Defense Production Act.
    • 3M launched cloth, daily face masks for use by consumers for shopping, social gatherings or doing other activities where a face covering is recommended or required.

    September 2020

    • 3M provided an overview of the differences between face coverings & masks, medical masks and respirators as the school year started.
    • Science at Home,” a series that features 3M scientists and special guests who demonstrate core scientific principles in an easy to follow format, is extended to provide accessible STEM distance-learning resources to families and children.
    • 3M is working, as one of a group of corporate partners, with the XPRIZE Foundation on XPRIZE’s Next-Gen Mask Challenge, aimed at encouraging young innovators to reinvent the face coverings used to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
    • 3M filed its 19th lawsuit as part of its global effort to fight COVID fraud, counterfeiting and price-gouging.

    August 2020

    • 3M shared ways it is adapting protective measures for employee safety as needed in our U.S. operations amidst the ongoing pandemic.
    • A 3M biopharmaceutical filtration technology that was developed over decades to capture microscopic particles and materials is now being used by pharmaceutical companies and researchers searching for vaccines and therapies to treat and protect against COVID-19.
    • A repurposed hydrophilic film from 3M becomes part of an anti-fog face shield for health care workers in a collaboration with Nissha Medical Technologies.
    • A long-term health care facility turned to 3M for supply chain help in securing much-needed cleaning and disinfecting products.
    • 3M Canada announced that with support from the Canadian Federal and Ontario governments it will begin to produce N95 respirators at 3M Canada’s plant in Brockville, Ontario.

    July 2020

    • As of July 7, 3M investigated more than 4,000 reports globally of suspected fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging; filed 18 lawsuits in 10 U.S. states and Canada; and secured the removal of 10,000 social media posts and more than 7,000 websites and e-commerce listings with fraudulent or counterfeit products.
    • 3M and MIT have partnered to develop a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19. The test, once validated, would detect viral antigens and deliver results within minutes via a paper-based device.
    • 3M supplied U.S. government with a total of 166.5 million respirators over a three-month period for import into the United States from our plants in Asia.
    • 3M Open Fund announced $1.5 million would be directed primarily toward Minnesota nonprofit organizations focused on supporting individuals impacted by COVID-19 and those fighting for social justice initiatives.
    • 3M donated 6,000 powered air-purifying respirators, collaboratively developed with Ford Motor Company, to Direct Relief for distribution to healthcare providers in need across the United States.

    June 2020

    • 3M reaches N95 production rate of nearly 50 million per month in the U.S., with the majority going to health care and public health workers.
    • 3M supplies FEMA with more than 149 million respirators from our plants in Asia Pacific for import into the United States by the end of June, with goal of a total of 166.5 million by mid-July.
    • 3M begins producing additional respirators in the United States as part of the US Department of Defense contracts.
    • 3M and HP announce collaboration to offer to customers free-of-charge tools to create graphics to help communicate social distancing and health and safety messages as public spaces, workplaces and businesses reopen.
    • 3M initiative to combat fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging continues with 17 lawsuits filed since April to stop bad actors, and thousands of fraudulent websites and social media posts removed.

    May 2020

    • By the end of May, 3M delivered more than 90 million 3M respirators made in its plants in Asia to FEMA for import into the U.S. via FEMA air- and sea-bridge, per the agreement reached with the U.S. government in early April.
    • 3M announced additional legal actions as part of its global effort to combat fraud and counterfeiting of 3M respirators. 
    • Newly designed powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPRs, developed by Ford in close collaboration with 3M, began shipping for use by health care workers fighting COVID-19.
    • 3M awarded two contracts through the U.S. Department of Defense to further expand 3M’s production of N95 respirators in the U.S.

    April 2020

    • 3M is producing 35 million N95 respirators per month in the United States.
    • 3M is working with government agencies and distributors to send 90% of these to healthcare facilities and first responders, with the remainder going to critical infrastructure such as food production, pharmaceuticals and energy.
    • In early April, 3M reached an agreement with the U.S. government that will enable FEMA to import 166.5 million 3M respirators into the United States from our plants in Asia.
    • 3M, Congress and U.S. Administration officials continue to discuss supply-demand challenges, as well as policies to promote domestic production, increase supply and other actions to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers and first responders across the U.S.
    • 3M expects to increase respirator production capacity to 50 million per month in China, an almost 200% increase from average 2019 levels.
    • 3M and Cummins Corporation, headquartered in Indiana, announced a partnership to increase production of high-efficiency particulate filters for use in 3M's powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs).
    • 3M filed multiple lawsuits against alleged price-gougers in the United States and Canada, while partnering with state attorneys general and state and federal law enforcement to stop fraud, price-gouging, and counterfeits of 3M respirators.
    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an additional Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing the use of KN95 and other respirators from China. (04.03.20)
    • President Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to acquire from 3M the number of N-95 respirators determined appropriate by the U.S. Administration.  (04.02.20)

    March 2020

    • 3M increased U.S. production of N95 respirators to 35 million a month, while continuing to increase production of respirators at all of its worldwide plants.
    • 3M, Congress and U.S. Administration officials continued discussing possible solutions to supply-demand challenges, along with policies to promote domestic production and supply of PPE.
    • 3M secured authorization from the Chinese government to import 10 million respirators manufactured by 3M China into the U.S. (week of 03.30.20)
    • 3M and Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Michigan, announced a partnership to increase production of PAPRs. (03.24.20)
    • 3M delivered a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, Chair of the National Governors Association, and President of the National Association of Attorneys General highlighting 3M’s actions to curb counterfeiting and price gouging of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic and urging the U.S. federal and state governments and law enforcement officials to continue to lead the fight, with 3M’s support and assistance. (03.24.20)
    • 3M launched a hotline and website to help identify and fight fraud, price gouging and counterfeiting of 3M respirators. (03.31.20)
    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing the use of more respirators, including certain N95s, available to health care personnel. (03.02.20)

    February 2020

    • 3M began working with the FDA in connection with FDA’s decision to provide emergency use authorization relating to the use of respirators to help in the fight against COVID-19 in healthcare facilities.
    • 3M increased U.S. production of N95 respirators to 33 million per month, with the 3M North American respirator supply chain running 24 hours per day and seven days per week.
    • 3M assisted Chinese governmental authorities’ efforts to validate and verify N95 respirator sales offers from non-Chinese entities and identify cases of potential fraudulent behavior.

    January 2020

    • 3M began increasing production in the U.S. of N95 respirators from 22 million prior to the COVID-19 outbreak to 26 million per month in anticipation of higher demand.
    • 3M and U.S. Administration officials began discussing supply-demand challenges, along with policies to promote domestic production and supply of PPE.
    • 3M ramped up global respirator production at facilities around the world with a goal of doubling global output rate to 1.1 billion per year.
    • 3M increased respirator production at its site in China, running 24 hours per day and seven days per week, including during the Lunar New Year holiday
    • 3M assisted the China CDC as it developed guidelines regarding the use of all forms of respiratory protection in the health care setting.
    • The Shanghai Municipal Government issued a Notice of Expropriating Production Capacity in Emergency to 3M. (01.27.20)
    • WHO declares COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. (01.30.20)

    December 2019

    • The Wuhan government confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. WHO states it received its first report of "a pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China"  to the WHO Country Office in China on the same day. (12.31.19)

See 3M News Center for more.

3M News Center