June 19, 2020

ISEA to respond to Senate’s pandemic preparedness proposal

ISEA members across the glove, garment, eye-and-face protection, and respiratory protection groups, along with distributor members, have met to craft a response to a pandemic preparedness White Paper authored by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).  The Senator chairs the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Preparing for the Next Pandemic” asks a number of questions and offers a variety of recommendations.  These range from asking for how to best conduct contact tracing to developing test kits.  However, a number of questions address PPE and suppling both state and national emergency stockpiles.

ISEA is commenting on recommendations for:

  1. Vendor Managed Inventories (VMI) for the SNS
  2. State-based emergency medical stockpiles
  3. Requirements for appropriate levels of PPE and for use of “shelf-life extension programs.”
  4. Expanding the list of items in the SNS, and improving oversight and accountability for SNS management
  5. Making certain HHS and FEMA are better coordinated

ISEA’s main comment is the federal government must supply a clear demand signal to raw material suppliers, manufacturers, and both industrial and healthcare distributors.  Working together in this way, all parties can respond to the nation’s emergency PPE needs.

The association also plans to ask for as much transparency as possible in SNS decision making.  A presidentially-appointed and senate-confirmed leader of the SNS will add to transparency as well as overall gravitas of this federal function.

In addition, ISEA plans to request federal liability for all PPE needed for pandemic response. In these cases, little is known about a novel infectious agent, such as its route of exposure or its dose/response relationship.  Yet, manufacturers and distributors readily supply PPE to healthcare workers, who are on the front lines of pandemic response.

ISEA is Your Washington Office

The pandemic has brought a number of challenges to ISEA members.  Recently, the association has helped solve a logistics problem for a PPE supplier, helped to get a key component that had been apportioned by a FEMA Defense Production Act move, and aided a manufacturer in meeting with key regulators. 

Please get in touch with ISEA Public Affairs Director Dan Glucksman, if there is a government-related issue facing your company.