Scores of companies that list medicinal and botanical manufacturing as a primary focus of the their business secured millions in federal COVID-19 relief funds, an analysis of recently released data shows.
According to information released by the Small Business Administration detailing federal funds granted to companies that applied for COVID-19 relief through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), 172 companies classified as medicinal and botanical manufacturing operations received assistance grants of at least US$150,000.
Thirty-two of those companies received at least $1 million in relief funds, which were designed to help small businesses get through two and a half months of payroll expenses and offset economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If businesses use the funds primarily to cover labor costs, the loans become forgivable, meaning businesses do not have to pay back the government.
Exact grant amounts aren’t listed as part of the data. Rather, loans are classified in amount ranges: $150,000 to $350,000, $350,000 to $1 million, $1 million to $2 million, $2 million to $5 million, and $5 million to $10 million.
Only one company that characterized itself as a medicinal or botanical manufacturing operations company received a PPP loan in that highest category, $5 million to $10 million—Threshold Enterprises of Scotts Valley, California. The company describes itself as “one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of nutritional supplements and other natural products,” and says it offers more than 450 brands—including Source Naturals and Planetary Formulas—and 18,000 products distributed throughout all 50 states as well as internationally. Grant data shows that Threshold reported 78 jobs being retained because of the relief funding.
Eleven firms in the medicinal and botanical category are listed as receiving grant amounts in the $2 million to $5 million range: Ferndale Pharma Group, Natural Vitamins Laboratory, Woodbolt Distribution dba Nutrabolt, Avanti Polar Lipids, 21st Century HealthCare, Best Formulations, CV Sciences Inc., Nutrawise Health and Beauty Corporation dba Youtheory, Xymogen Inc., Ortho Molecular Products, and Bio-Botanica.
Twenty companies received grant amounts in the $1 million to $2 million range, the data shows.
None of the botanical manufacturing companies that received $2 million or more in grant funding responded to requests for comment about their participation in the program.
You can see the entire list of companies that received PPP grant money here.
The U.S. Treasury Department, under pressure to provide greater transparency about the relief program, released grant data that includes the names of companies and other key information only for loans that were above $150,000. Thousands of companies whose identities were not disclosed received grant funding from the program below the $150,000 threshold.
Combining both the known-company and undisclosed grant data, California led all U.S. states in terms of headquarters for companies classified as medicinal and botanical manufacturing operations that received COVID-19 relief funds, with 104 grants issued.
Florida ranked second on that list, counting 53 companies in the category, and Texas had the third-highest number of companies in the category to receive grant funds at 42. Colorado counted 35 such grant recipients, Georgia and Oregon 20, Utah and New Jersey 18, New York 17, and Pennsylvania 16.