A Maryland company will pay a $550,000 settlement after an investigation by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey concluded that the vendor falsely marketed a hand sanitizer product it sold to the MBTA as effective at combating COVID-19.
Healey's office announced Wednesday that Federal Resources Supply Company misleadingly described Theraworx Protect as sanitizing in a "30-second flash" and providing six hours of protective effects against the highly infectious virus, but in fact, the product contained no alcohol.
COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control recommend using a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water are not available.
"This company's reckless and deceptive actions put the health of our frontline workers and the public at even further risk during this unprecedented public health crisis," Healey said in a statement. "We took action against this company because their attempt to exploit people during the COVID-19 pandemic for their own profit was not only unacceptable, it was illegal."
The MBTA had placed three large purchase orders of the hand sanitizer, though Healey's office said it intervened before the T paid for any of them.
The agency now has unused, alcohol-free sanitizer sitting in storage, she said.
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Under the terms of the settlement, Federal Resources Supply Company will pay $400,000 to the state's General Fund and will issue a $150,000 credit to the MBTA to cover product it used, according to Healey's office.
The company also agreed not to market or sell Theraworx Protect in Massachusetts or describe it as effective against COVID-19 in any marketing materials distributed in Massachusetts.