Dan Glucksman
ISEA Director of Government Affairs

The bill brings rationality and commonsense to pandemic and public health emergency planning…

 

ISEA welcomes the introduction of HR 8553, the MAKE PPE Act, sponsored by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), and co-sponsored by Reps. Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Collin Peterson (D-MN), and Chris Pappas (D-NH).

Personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers support this legislation because it will help the nation better respond to pandemics and other public health emergencies. For example, the bill creates a new position within FEMA for pandemic response and asks this new assistant administrator to coordinate closely with HHS.

The bill, in Sec. 4, allows the federal government to collect demand data for PPE and other needed supplies from healthcare providers, asking them for 30, 60 and 90-day need estimates. This would be paired with supplier production capacities.  ISEA believes this type of on-going surveillance will impress the nation’s pandemic response readiness, along with other actions, such as replenishing federal and state emergency stockpiles.

ISEA members believe that with a clear demand signal, manufacturers can plan to meet the demand. This is best when conducted in a transparent manner with results accessible to manufacturers.

The bill also recognizes the critical role of global supply chains. Black-and-white thinking seems to dominate this area: We either source from China, or everything is made in America. However, modern PPE manufacturers have globally managed risk-based supply chains. These serve the nation’s geostrategic interests by trading with allies in Asia, along with regional and North Atlantic partners, and make use of the nation’s trade agreements, such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, DR-CAFTA, and the defense trade agreements.

The bill calls for a Berry Amendment-like procurement process for critical, non-pharmaceutical items, such as PPE, for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill could be improved by requiring that the VA purchase an equal amount of reusable and disposable respirators.  Most reusable respirators are made in the US with a large majority of domestic components. This type of requirement will make the VA a leader in this area and ease the burden of smaller, private sector healthcare providers who need NIOSH-certified respiratory protection.

The bill brings rationality and commonsense to pandemic and public health emergency planning, and ISEA looks forward to its immediate passage.