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Katie Porter calls on Amazon to redirect face masks, sanitizer to health care providers

Katie Porter calls on Amazon to redirect face masks, sanitizer to health care providers
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Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is calling for Amazon to redirect its stock of face masks and hand sanitizer to health care providers nationwide who are dealing with shortages amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.

In a letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case Senators question Bezos, Amazon about cameras placed in delivery vans GOP senators question Amazon on removal of book about 'transgender moment' MORE on Monday, the California congresswoman said that the company’s vast resources could save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide and that it is uniquely positioned to assist hospitals during the pandemic. 

She also urged the corporation to push back more proactively against price-gouging of hand sanitizer and face masks on its website, arguing that it has contributed to a “dire need” for these items at medical facilities. 

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"I request that Amazon purchase a significant quantity of hand sanitizer and face masks, along with all remaining stores of those products still available for sale on the site, and donate them to health care providers across the nation," Porter said, adding that Amazon has an "unparalleled opportunity to continue to use its resources and operational capacity for our collective good.

Porter is also asking that the company clearly label hand sanitizer products that are proven to be ineffective in killing the coronavirus. She argued that the sale of these products "actively undermines" preventative health efforts. 

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.  

The request from Porter came as the coronavirus continued to spread in the U.S. The country had reported more than 5,800 confirmed cases and 96 deaths from the disease as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a database from The New York Times.

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Amazon announced earlier Tuesday that it would suspend shipments of nonessential items to its warehouses in the United States and United Kingdom. 

The company said the move would allow it to prioritize "household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so we can more quickly receive, restock and ship these products to customers." The freeze will remain in effect until April 5. 

Amazon Care, the retail giant's virtual medical clinic for employees, has also reportedly offered to assist the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a project designed to provide testing kits in Seattle. 

Amazon said earlier this month that it had removed hundreds of thousands of offers from its online store due to price-gouging, after Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case Senators question Bezos, Amazon about cameras placed in delivery vans OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (D-Mass) raised concerns about the issue.