May 2, 2020 - Health

Maryland cancels order for masks and ventilators, asks AG to investigate shipment that never arrived

In this image, people wearing baseball caps and face masks pack bags and boxes
The World Central Kitchen distributes meals to citizens of Baltimore, Maryland in response to the coronavirus pandemic on May 2. Photo: J. Countess/Getty Images

Maryland is asking its attorney general to investigate a new company formed to buy and distribute protective gear after a $12.5 million shipment of face masks and ventilators for use in the novel coronavirus pandemic never arrived, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: First responders and health care workers have said they are dealing with massive shortages of critical supplies like face masks and personal protective equipment while responding to the pandemic.

Details: Maryland state officials ordered the medical supplies from Blue Flame Medical LLC, which was founded by Mike Gula, a former fundraiser for the Republican Party, WSJ reports.

  • Maryland officials said they waited over 30 days for the medical supplies.
  • Gula told Maryland officials in a letter that the state's order had been seized by officials in China, and said he plans to deliver the materials soon after switching to a new supplier.
  • Maryland has more than 24,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

What they're saying: “We have determined that since it has been one month since the order was placed with no confirmation of shipment, we are in the process of canceling the order and have referred this matter to the Attorney General,” a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of General Services told the WSJ.

Go deeper: Hogan says National Guard is protecting coronavirus tests sent from South Korea

Go deeper