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California's Botched Deal Reveals A Chaotic Marketplace For Medical Supplies

Ground crew at the Los Angeles International Airport unload pallets of medical protective equipment from a China Southern Cargo plane upon its arrival on April 10, 2020. California has scrambled to cut deals for millions of masks and other gear. (Richard Vogel/AP)
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As California sought to boost the supply of personal protective equipment for front line workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, a nearly $500 million deal with novice medical supplier Blue Flame mysteriously fell apart. The company had been in business for just three days.

The broken deal provides a look at the chaotic marketplace of medical supply procurement and the dollars at stake in the crisis that has killed more than 70,000 Americans.

Maryland has meanwhile called for an investigation into Blue Flame's conduct in that state.

So what went wrong?

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