The N95 respirators are the most coveted face masks at this particular time due to their resilience against the Coronavirus disease. The respirator has become rather crucial in fighting the spread of this infectious disease. However, as we went on to witness a major upheaval in the demand for this particular respirator, we had also observed an increase in the scarcity of this product. The prices of the N95 respirators were sky-high and as a result of the hiked prices, many people who deserved to get their hands on the N95 mask were unfortunately deprived of it.
People were desperate to gain possession of an N95 mask and because some humans on earth are wicked intellectuals, who must have had an epiphany to take advantage of people’s vulnerability in these sensitive times and make a fool out of them, the public was exposed to counterfeit N95 respirators. These N95 respirators are fake and illegitimate as they are marketed as NIOSH-approved masks when they are sub-average N95 masks. These counterfeit N95 masks do not provide one the protection an original N95 does and is just a wicked trick played by some unethical humans who are taking advantage of people’s folly and acquiring money through it.
Care New England’s Controversial N95 Purchase
Situated in Rhode Island, Care New England is a not for profit healthcare system consisting of many hospitals that were founded in 1996. Coming to the main topic, in case you weren’t already aware, this hospital recently purchased N95 masks in bulk quantity for their healthcare workers. After the purchase, It was soon discovered that the newly arrived 10,000 pieces of N95s were fake. It was a big blow for the hospital that had no idea at all about the illegitimacy of their purchased products.
Surely, this isn’t the first time that people of America have encountered fake N95 masks as in mid-September CBP seized a freshly arrived shipment of 50,000 N95 respirators in Chicago. So Counterfeit masks have become quite common in not just America but other countries too. However, it is the first time that one of the top hospitals of Rhode Island had to go through the embarrassment of purchasing 10,000 pieces of N95 respirators for their health care workers.
These counterfeit masks were purchased from Chinese company Makrite which is among the leading manufacturers of disposable masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). The company also has its satellite branches in Korea, Japan, the USA, and Singapore. Out of the 10,000 pieces the hospital purchased, a whole lot of them were confirmed to be fake. What led to the discovery of the masks being counterfeit was when one of the workers tried the mask on and it didn’t fit. Many people who tried these N95 masks observed something wrong with it and informed their superiors about it.
The people at CNE in their statement regarding this purchase very candidly mentioned that they had gone through the whole procedure carefully and had no reason to expect such a disappointing outcome from this deal. The CNE staff further elaborated that at the time of purchasing these N95 masks, the Makrite vendor had provided them all relevant receipts, slips, and packaging lists, and the vendor was overall a reliable person and gave them no reason at all to anticipate such a turn of events.
The Response from CNE
Even though out of the entire package of the 10,000 pieces, only a few of them were said to be fake the hospital couldn’t risk having their healthcare workers using fake N95 masks. After the healthcare system found that more than half the pieces didn’t pass the fit-testing they were deemed fake and non-suitable and as a result, CNE asked all its healthcare workers to discard all the Makrite masks. The CNE still has many other respirators on back-up and also went on to purchase more N95 masks from the American conglomerate 3M.
The CNE after having such a disappointing experience with Makrite couldn’t just sit back so the Rhode Island health care system responded to Makrite by sending them pictures of the counterfeit N95 masks along with their packaging and lot numbers. The Makrite is yet to respond to this controversy of counterfeit N95 masks.
Furthermore, CNE is not the only one that received fake N95 masks, countless other entities in the Rhode Island state have reported that they were supplied with fake N95s. In light of the increased selling of fake N95s, here are some pointers to ponder upon that will hopefully save one from acquiring a fake N95 mask:
Common signs to look for in a fake N95 respirator
- Loose ear loops
- Absence of NIOSH marking and in case of marking, NIOSH is spelled incorrectly
- No approval or TC number
- FDA logo on the box
Fake N95 respirators are becoming quite common in markets and online platforms and are an alarming problem for authorities that should be dealt with and agencies such as the FDA have also recently taken notice of this problem. The sellers of counterfeit N95 respirators are polluting the market and creating distrust among the purchasers. The case of Care New England is one such case where the manufacturers Makrite have completely lost their worth in the sight of the public by delivering fake respirators to healthcare workers. CNE has also expressed their disappointment over this very careless and unethical act done by Makrite.