Pandemic Preparedness Again a Key Issue in Washington

HIDA Government Affairs Update
July 2017

By Linda Rouse O'Neill
Vice President, Government Affairs

While the ongoing debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act has dominated the news cycle, lawmakers will soon have to consider other vital healthcare legislation. One of these key issues is pandemic preparedness.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) will be up for renewal next year. This measure has been vital to strengthening national preparedness efforts, and Congress will soon begin considering what to include in the renewal measure. Since distributors play a key role in national pandemic preparedness, HIDA has actively worked with federal leaders to help strengthen the supply chain and has developed a set of recommendations for national preparedness.

HIDA develops recommendations to improve pandemic response

Based on our ongoing work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile, along with other agencies, we have found that private industry leaders have much to contribute for public health crisis preparations. Industry knowledge and experience can be effectively used to make sure we will have ample supplies of key products needed for most responses. Making the most of existing knowledge and resources requires:

  • Federal agencies reach out to their commercial partners to understand current market volume, capacity, and viable product substitutions.
  • Federal agencies work with manufacturers of essential products to understand what affects their ability to quickly “ramp up” production.
  • Federal and industry leaders work together to develop a plan for information sharing. This will allow all parties to understand pandemic preparedness plans and have the same expectation of the supply chain in the event of an emergency.

While high-level discussions are vital to coordinating a national response, all members of the healthcare supply chain can help pandemic preparedness efforts.

How to get involved

The most important thing you can do is inform your representatives about this issue and how it affects your company and your trading partners. If you noticed supply shortages or spikes in demand occurred when Zika or Ebola was in the news, tell them about these experiences. Additionally, you should tell your congressional representatives about the key role PAHPRA reauthorization can play in helping the nation prepare for a pandemic.

To guarantee ample supplies of essential medical goods, we recommend the PAHPRA reauthorization include:

  • Stable funding for public health programs.
  • Clear lines of communication between government and industry leaders.
  • A formal supply chain partnership between the public and private sector.

By telling lawmakers in your district about how this legislation affects your business and the role you play in the national healthcare supply chain, you make these issues more immediate and personal. This is key to making sure pandemic preparedness receives the attention it deserves.

HIDA members educate policy makers on the healthcare supply chain

Last month, HIDA’s government affairs team brought member executives to Washington D.C. to participate in our annual Washington Summit. Members met with lawmakers and their staff to educate them on preparedness and other key issues affecting the supply chain.

Policy makers routinely thank HIDA members when they come to Washington for “putting a human face” on the needs of the healthcare supply chain. You can help in this effort by educating your congressional representatives and sharing your experience regarding preparedness.

Next month, we will provide a more in-depth look at the issues discussed during the Washington Summit. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, please contact us at