On Saturday, Neil Cavuto hosted a battle of the billionaires on his Fox News program … or more accurately, a distinct disagreement about whether corporate giant 3M is responsible for some sellers marking up prices on available N95 face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than requiring the company’s distributors to sell them directly to health care providers at a fair price.
Media and sports mogul Mark Cuban charged that 3M could have stopped their distributors from allowing the limited supply of masks from getting into the open market, diminishing much-needed inventories available to medical professionals combating COVID-19.
Home Depot founder and philanthropist Ken Langone followed Cuban’s interview denying that 3M was in any way guilty, and in fact he strongly defended 3M’s above-and-beyond performance in maximizing production and getting the masks out to the health care providers in need.
Cavuto got things rolling when he asked Cuban about his criticisms of 3M for not doing more to keep mask prices down.
“3M–first, they get credit for ramping up production, absolutely,” Cuban admitted. “But they sell, up until recently they sell as best I can tell, exclusively through distribution–meaning if you go to their website, there’s a list of distributors that resell their N95 masks.
“Now, what’s been happening is obviously, everybody is aware of the shortages and the crisis around the N95 masks not being available for health care workers,” continued Cuban. “And they apparently have just let their distributors price whatever they want to price the masks at. And in a lot of cases, they’re not selling them to healthcare providers. Those distributors are selling them to resellers and black marketers who are then trying to jack up the price even higher than the distributors did.
“My point was in all of this, there’s a contractual relationship between the 3M licensed distributors and 3M corporate,” Cuban claimed. “It would have been very easy for them to say very strongly that if you don’t sell–if you don’t take the inventory we’re providing you and sell directly to hospitals and healthcare providers that need the masks, when your contract comes up we’re going to end that contract. But that’s not what they did. I have a huge problem with that. And what’s happening now is the federal government, and I’ve tried to help as much as I can turning over some of these people who say they have inventory and want to sell it to me at a jacked-up price, the federal government is starting to go after some of the middlemen who have gotten in the way and helped make this market really inefficient and enable all of the price gouging. And my feeling has been if the CEO of 3M says don’t do it, this could have stopped a long time ago. If the CEO of 3M said I only want you to sell to healthcare providers, this would have stopped a long time ago.”
Watch and listen to Cuban’s interview on “Cavuto Live” …
Video by Fox News
Next up, Cavuto brought on Langone, who serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of the NYU Langone Medical Center. He asked, “Ken, you did not believe what Cuban said, is that right?”
“I can tell you firsthand, it’s just not true. I’m personally dealing directly with Mike Roman, the CEO of 3M, Mike DelVacchio, the head of the [company’s] health care [division], they are diverting all of their production to the health care channels, and why they are using distributors is it’s the most efficient way to get it to them,” said Langone.
“They are doing an absolutely incredible job, not a good job an incredible job,” Langone went on. “The same is true with Danaher. My God, industry is demonstrating — now, Neil there are knockoffs out there, there are masks and things of that nature that are being made and sold that 3M has nothing to do with. We track down because we need these masks badly, every time we get a call, ‘we’ve got ’em,’ we have our supply chain management follow-up on it and she says we can’t use them they’re not the same.”
“Neil, this is wrong,” Langone said. “This is scurrilous, I’m sorry.”
The philanthropist billionaire went on to say: “3M right now is directing all of their production of masks go to their healthcare distributors, like McKesson, like Cardinal, like Medco. This company is stopping everything to make sure that on the battlefield, on the frontline, we’re getting everything from them. My God, they’re working night and day to ramp up production so that we can have them. They’re taking their industrial production and converting it to this product–called the N95. But my God this company should get the medal of honor instead of this accusation they are allowing people to gouge. Not so, Neil! Christ sakes we got enough crime.”
Cavuto asked Langone what should be done about “those who do gouge … whether it’s in small percentages or not.”
“We should rip their fingernails out of their hands that’s what we should do to them,” Langone replied.
“At this time in our history, at this time of our nation’s great need people are out there trying to profit?”
“Neil, there’s enough going on without any kind of rumor or speculation about this, continued the Home Depot founder. “All I want the listeners to know is that 3M is performing as admirably as any company possibly could. They are wonderful people and they dropped everything and they picked up on it. This is unbelievable.”
Langone’s “Cavuto Live” interview can be heard here …
Video by Fox News
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