1. US Public Policy
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3M is dedicated to increasing supply to help protect citizens

Understanding U.S. respirator supply and guiding policy around COVID-19

3M has a unique and critical role in the fight against COVID-19

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 tripled monthly U.S. respirator production.
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    Importing N95 Respirators and Expediting Delivery

    Resulting in a 10-hour average delivery time by air.

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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 plant worker talking about ramping up N95 respirator production
See how 3M has ramped up U.S. production
Learn more on CNBC

Prioritizing supplies to most critical areas with the help of FEMA

  • 3M respirators boxed on pallets ready for shipping
    • In early April, 3M and the U.S. Government announced a plan that, with support and assistance of the Trump Administration, has enabled FEMA and 3M to supply more than 222 million respirators from 3M production facilities in Asia.
    • The U.S. government committed to address and remove export and regulatory restrictions to enable this plan. The plan enabled 3M to accelerate support for the U.S. and other areas in urgent need, including Canada and Latin America.
    • As a global company headquartered in the United States, 3M has manufacturing operations around the world to serve local and regional markets. As the pandemic unfolds in different stages around the world, 3M is also working with governments to break down trade barriers and direct respirators to serve areas of the world most in need.

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Policy Recommendations

  • “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. Spiked 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. As of June, 3M has accelerated the production of N95s with additional production output at 3M’s Aberdeen, South Dakota facility. 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 nearly 50 million per month in June, and on track to be producing 95 million a month by October (a nearly 3X increase since April).

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • 3M has not and will not increase 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, and FEMA to increase production and import more than 222 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 June, 3M produced N95 respirators at a rate of nearly 50 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 changed prices and has committed to not change prices during the pandemic, while also publishing the list prices for respirators 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 changed prices and has committed to not change prices during the pandemic, while also publishing the list prices for respirators 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.