America’s broken PPE supply chain must be fixed now – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-06-14 04:50:12 –

AMost people now know that the United States is not ready to fight Covid-19. However, few are aware that the structural problems in the supply chain that have plagued government response have not been resolved.

It is important to address these vulnerabilities immediately. We do not know when the next inevitable health crisis will occur.

Consider the disastrous distribution of emergency medical supplies by the government.Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in charge Strategic national stockpile of Personal protective equipment (PPE) etc. N95 respiratory system, Specific medications such as gloves, gowns, face shields, ventilators, antibiotics and antitoxins.


yet Request for public records When the pandemic began, FEMA showed that it did not have established standards for distributing supplies to the state. And there was a problem with the system it finally introduced.

It Distributed PPE It is based on calculations that are not related to the number of cases in the state. As a result, Covid-19 cases have the highest number of PPE items per case in low-population states such as Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Vermont. Meanwhile, incident-siege states such as California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts received the fewest masks, gloves, and shields in each incident.


When the state controls Get supplies From FEMA stockpiles, they often got the wrong items and, in most cases, received fewer shipments than requested.Doctors and nurses Reuse the same N95 mask for a weekAlthough it is designed to be discarded after examining each patient.

This federal failure in the supply chain forced the state to bid Against other states, And to the federal government about items such as medical grade face masks and disposable gloves. To one pointVentilator prices have risen, usually from $ 25,000 to over $ 45,000, due to bid wars and price cuts.The medical facility was paying $ 5 for the N95 respiratory system it had It costs 50 cents Before the pandemic occurs.

Instead of going where they really needed supplies, they went to the highest bidders. Frontline healthcare workers, patients, and taxpayers have all paid a lot for this inefficient system.

There is an easy way to prevent such a catastrophe from recurring. Congress can approve and fund a federal information gathering and distribution network for PPEs, medicines, and other medical products. This will probably allow Food and Drug Administration staff to properly inventory and deliver medical supplies to patients and healthcare professionals in the areas where they are needed.

Of course, monitoring and distributing stockpiles is only half the battle. The best surveillance systems in the world cannot deliver masks and medicines to hospitals in the event of a serious shortage nationwide. And that’s exactly what happened last year.

Over the years, many hospital and medical device distributors have become dependent on low-priced manufacturers in other countries, especially China.But China Restricted exports Proprietary coronavirus personal protective equipment when the crisis begins

Correspondingly, large and small US manufacturers Jumped into actionMillions of dollars for equipment and people needed to promote domestic production of masks, hand sanitizers, face shields, and other protective equipment needed to survive a pandemic, along with ventilators and other medical devices. Invested.

But those domestic manufacturers Currently facing a canceled contractLarge suppliers, hospital systems, and even state governments are once again looking to overseas manufacturing. China is currently flooding the market, selling surgical masks for a penny, but American companies are struggling to survive. The New York Times recently has 27 members of the American Mask Manufacturer’s Association. Dismissed 50% of workers..

Pivoting China for supplies is not just short-sighted. It is a national security threat.

It is imperative that the United States increase domestic production of PPE in preparation for a future health crisis. This means not only a stockpile of masks, medicines and ventilators, but also more federal contracts, or even public-private partnerships, to build and maintain the reserve manufacturing capacity needed to quickly produce more. To do. Maintaining that surplus capacity effectively acts as an insurance policy that allows you to expand production as needed.

Congress owes Americans to properly fund investments in such supply chains so that the General Procurement Department can start bidding immediately.

American-made PPE may be a bit more expensive than Chinese-made equipment. But the money is well spent. Rebuilding a reliable supply chain and maintaining reserve manufacturing capacity can save lives, create jobs, and avoid financially catastrophic blockages, which can be enormously profitable. ..

Too many Americans died unnecessarily in Covid-19 because the federal government did not have the proper way to manage and distribute emergency medical care and medical devices. Congress needs to implement a better system before the next public health crisis occurs.

John Wharton, a retired US Major General who recently commanded the US Army R & D Technology Command at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, is currently a risk management, infrastructure, and resiliency initiative.

America’s broken PPE supply chain must be fixed now Source link America’s broken PPE supply chain must be fixed now

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