CLEVELAND (WJW) – A federal lawsuit was filed against a Pennsylvania-based company after investigators say it sold thousands of fake N-95 masks to the Cleveland Clinic.
According to the complaint, the Cleveland Clinic purchased over 400,000 3M branded respirator masks from Q2 Solutions for almost $1.8 million.
The complaint states that the Cleveland Clinic issued more than 53,000 of these masks to its workers before learning they were counterfeit. In some cases, the masks were worn by workers in high-risk COVID-19 wards.
The Cleveland Clinic first ordered N-95 masks from Q2 Solutions back in November.
The investigation started in January when nurses doing a routine fitting test noticed that the purported 3M masks were “smaller in size.”
Learning that the masks may be counterfeit, the Cleveland Clinic searched all of its locations for the masks and stopped using them. They sent pictures of the masks to a representative from 3M and shipped some samples.
Experts with 3M confirmed that the masks were fake, the complaint states.
The masks were seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 11.
In another case, Delaware-based hospital TidalHealth also bought surgical grade N-95 masks from Q2 Solutions in November.
TidalHealth reached out to 3M after workers reported that the masks had a strange odor. 3M later confirmed that the masks were fake.
Investigators with HSI Philadelphia say that Q2 Solutions may have sold counterfeit PPE to at least 20 medical facilities.
According to the Cleveland Clinic’s lawsuit, Q2 Solutions hasn’t paid back any of the money spent on the masks.
In a statement, the Cleveland Clinic said, “We continue to work with authorities on their investigation and remain committed to helping prevent healthcare-related fraud.”