With our own staff on the ground in both China and Vietnam, RTB West has been getting things done right in Asia for 20 years. We were founded on the idea that the most valuable product an importer can offer is not a physical item; it is a deep and broad expertise in production processes, people and culture. So we built a company with just one product – an ability to get things done in Asia. This put us in a strong position to help with the current crisis. We watched Covid roll out in China, knew it would be much more severe in the US and foresaw the inexorable mask shortage and subsequent the widespread faking of N95 respirators and other PPE. We also knew that unqualified entities would chase profits by knowingly or unwittingly offering fake or substandard PPE and immediately took action to develop a defensible import protocol. The pervasiveness of the fake PPE problem cannot be overstated. After exposure to literally hundreds of resellers and institutional buyers I’ve run across only 2 who were proceeding with defensible safety protocols. We are currently supplying PPE to the States of TN and VA, multiple counties in New York as well as the NYU hospital system and several others.
Based on my years of experience in Asia and by what I’ve seen in the current crisis I’m confident that the majority of masks, especially claimed NIOSH N95 and KN95 respirators, are fake. It’s unconscionable and we’re on a mission to do all we can to stop this. Giving doctors N95s that are not provably real is akin to providing bulletproof vests of unknown origin to police officers walking into a firefight. A mask that is not provably real must be assumed to be fake. Here is what we are doing to ensure provenance and document it to a level that we feel is defensible.