FEMA terminates $55M contract with Panthera to produce N95 masks

The Federal Emergency Management Agency canceled a $55.5 million contract it had signed with Panthera Worldwide, a small Virginia company, to provide the government with N95 masks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

FEMA had a contract with Panthera for it to provide 10 million N95 masks to the government by May 1. It was one of the largest mask orders signed by FEMA.

The contract was extended once to May 11, and Panthera asked for another extension of four days, but FEMA declined, according to the Journal

Panthera has no history in the mask business, and its parent company is in bankruptcy, the Journal reported. 

The contract was canceled May 12 "on the grounds of nondelivery," a FEMA spokesperson told the Journal. FEMA said it won't pay Panthera.

Jim Punelli, a co-owner of Panthera, previously said Panthera has a successful history as a government contractor and that he was confident it would deliver the masks on time. 

The federal government has placed more than $110 million in mask orders with unproven vendors, according to the Journal. Of the more than 20 million N95 masks the government has ordered to be delivered by the end of May, at least 80 percent were ordered from suppliers that were either first-time government contractors or that only had small contracts previously that didn't include medical supplies.

Read the full article here

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