Increasing supply chain elasticity, improving U.S. production of PPE, and partnering with the private sector to replenish supplies leads to a better prepared America
Strengthening the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) will enhance the nation’s medical supply chain and its elasticity. A new bipartisan bill introduced this spring by two congresswomen is designed to do just that. It builds on the work HIDA and its federal partners have been collaborating on during the last several years.
“Creating a continuous and elevated level of demand for key preparedness products requires a strong private/public partnership,” said HIDA VP of Government Affairs Linda Rouse O’Neill. “HIDA applauds these lawmakers’ efforts that continue to improve our nation’s medical products supply chain.”
The measure was introduced in April as H.R. 6531 by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) amid the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 amends a 2019 preparedness bill and underlying public health service act. It also authorizes $500 million annually through fiscal year 2023 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program that would create incentives for U.S. manufacturers to improve supply chain elasticity. The program would be charged with:
- Creating incentives for the domestic manufacture of medical supplies to enhance supply chain elasticity
- Establishing and maintaining domestic reserves of critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests
- Working with distributors of medical supplies to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile by refreshing and replenishing supply stocks.
The legislation is designed to ensure the U.S. is better prepared to avoid shortages of critical supplies and to create a reliable domestic reserve of lifesaving medical equipment so the nation is ready for the next crisis, Rep. Walorski said. Rep. Dingell noted that modernizing the stockpile and the medical supply chain is key to ensuring frontline healthcare workers and first responders have adequate supplies of PPE.
HIDA and its members have been working with SNS and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) for years. HIDA and its members have provided executive-level subject matter experts to share commercial supply chain manufacturing capacity, challenges, and industry requirements for ancillary products in the SNS. The SNS has hosted multiple workshops and tabletop exercises with HIDA that have led to better communications and collaboration among manufacturers and distributors in responding to emergencies and disasters. (See HIDA’s article in the April issue of Repertoire magazine on collaborative efforts that was co-written by a former SNS director and HIDA’s VP of Government Affairs.)
H.R. 6531 builds on language included in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Innovation Act (PAHPAI) that President Trump signed into law in June 2019. PAHPAI formalizes public/private partnerships to ensure continuity during a disaster, which addressed understanding product availability for medical countermeasures and market capacity as well as identifying substitutions and alternative products.