Panthera Worldwide is a company that has been seeing a fair amount of mention in the news in recent times. This is because it was awarded a $55 million contract for N95 masks by the Trump administration. Something that seems very questionable, not least because Panthera Worldwide has no expertise whatsoever when it comes to medical equipment.
1. Had a Facility in Old Fields, WV
At one point in time, Panthera Worldwide had a facility in Old Fields in the state of West Virginia. For those who are curious, Old Fields is an unincorporated community that can be found in Hardy County with the result that it sits upon the South Branch Potomac River. It is called thus because it was founded on an Indian old field, meaning a place that had once been cleared out by Native Americans for farming as well as other forms of human occupation.
2. Being Sued Because of that Facility
Having said that, it is important to note that Panthera Worldwide is now being sued by the businessman who leased it the Old Fields facility. Something that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in its ability to do anything, particularly when combined with everything else that is known about the company.
3. Provides Training
Panthera Worldwide has stated that it makes it money by providing "elite" training to members of the U.S. military as well as members of U.S. law enforcement. There has been mention of scenario-based training, which presumably means when students are put in an immersive training environment so that they can be presented with realistic challenges before receiving realistc feedback on their choices. Supposedly, some of the training has been medical-themed in nature.
4. Has Neither Expertise Nor Experience with Medical Equipment
In any case, it should be very clear that Panthera Worldwide has neither expertise nor experience with the production of medical equipment, which explains why so many people are so confused by its selection for the N95 masks.
5. The Contract Is For N95 Masks
Speaking of which, N95 masks aren't something that just any company can produce. Never mind in the numbers needed for a pandemic that is sweeping through the United States as well as the rest of the world. N95 masks are capable of filtering at least 95 percent of airborne particles, so it should come as no surprise to learn that a considerable amount of expertise and experience is needed to ensure consistent quality for such items. On top of that, they can't be made without the right materials, which is another constraint for anyone who would like to increase their production.
6. Not Intending to Manufacture N95 Masks
Having said that, the story isn't quite as ridiculous as Panthera Worldwide promising to manufacture a huge number of N95 masks within a relatively short period of time using expertise, experience, and equipment that it doesn't have. Instead, one of its executives has stated that it will get its hands on enough N95 masks to fulfill the terms of its contract through the contacts that it has made through its provision of training.
7. The Idea Isn't Necessarily Impossible
On its own, the idea isn't necessarily impossible. After all, there have been plenty of stories in recent times about interested parties managing to get their hands on medical equipment because of contacts that they have with the right people in the right places, with an excellent example being how Governor Larry Hogan's wife Yumi Hogan helped Maryland to negotiate a deal for 500,000 testing kits for the novel coronavirus. As a result, it isn't exactly difficult to imagine that a company with contacts in medical equipment manufacturing could get its hands on medical equipment thanks to that kind of influence while the standard channels are clogged full of medical equipment orders. However, it remains to be seen whether Panthera Worldwide has that kind of influence. Never mind the fact that it would be acting as a middle man when there are actual medical equipment manufacturers out there.
8. Much More Expensive
In fact, it should be mentioned that Panthera Worldwide seems to be much more expensive than the other options out there. After all, it is apparently being paid $5.50 per mask, which is a huge jump compared to, say, 3M, which apparently charges just $0.63 per mask. Theoretically, a buyer might be willing to pay more for more reliable product with more consistent quality, but the problem is that everything about Panthera Worldwide suggests the exact opposite. As a result, it is no wonder that there are so many people out there who find the whole deal more than a bit suspicious.
9. Has No Employees
As mentioned earlier, Panthera Worldwide's parent company has filed for bankruptcy. In fact, it should be mentioned that Panthera Worldwide literally hasn't had any employees since May of 2018, which is information that comes from no less a source than one of its owners's sworn testimony on the matter. On top of this, Panthera Worldwide isn't even a limited liability company anymore because it hasn't been paying the fees needed to maintain that status.
10. The N95 Masks Are Supposedly Being Shipped
Regardless, there is bound to be more information coming out about this case in the not too distant future. After all, Panthera Worldwide has apparently reported that the N95 masks are in the process of being shipped from wherever it is that they came from. Moreover, the delivery date is set for April 23, which is very soon. As such, it will be interesting to see whether Panthera Worldwide can live up to its promises or not. However, even if it manages said feat, there will still be the question of why it was chosen even though its cost was so much higher than that of an actually reputable medical equipment manufacturer. Something that may or may not be answered anytime soon considering the chaos caused by the current COVID-19 crisis.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee