PPE Supply Chains Under Scrutiny as Pandemic Worsens

Panel of experts offers suggestions for ensuring a pipeline of essential supplies

November 19, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic tested the emergency preparedness of healthcare organizations in many ways, one particular area has come under greater scrutiny – supply chains, especially as they relate to essential personal protective equipment (PPE). Even the federal government’s preparation in this area is under review.

A new analysis of the government’s response to COVID-19 highlights myriad problems with its emergency preparedness approach. Instead of the current response that focused on international supply chains and the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a panel of experts calls for a more dynamic, flexible approach to emergency preparedness at the national level, according to Nextgov.

The federal government has been criticized for being unable to provide adequate PPE when the pandemic hit. The panel notes that the SNS hadn’t replenished some of its supplies since the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-’10 and that many of its supplies had expired. The panel outlines components necessary to ensure an adequate federal response to future health crises.

For example, they call for global independence. The pandemic has highlighted the fact that the government outsourced manufacturing of critical biomedical material because it was cheaper, adding that authorities now must consider investing in domestic manufacturing of PPE and other essential supplies.

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