WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced its intention to hold accountable anyone who violates antitrust laws in connection with the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of public health products such as face masks, respirators, and diagnostics.

The department’s announcement is part of a broader administration effort to ensure that federal, state, and local health authorities are in the strongest possible position to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Individuals or companies that fix prices or rig bids for personal health protection equipment such as sterile gloves and face masks could face criminal prosecution.

Competitors who agree to allocate among themselves consumers of public health products could also be prosecuted.

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