Wartime law raises prospect of device supply shortages — 5 things to know

Angie Stewart -   Print  | Email

Device companies could face supply shortages if President Donald Trump activates the Defense Production Act, which would give him authority to force the production of critical medical equipment, the StarTribune reports.

What you should know:

1. Medtronic, which is headquartered in Minnesota, opposes expansive use of the law because its devices rely on parts from other countries. Its $50,000 PB980 ventilator, for instance, includes 1,700 parts from 100 suppliers in 14 countries.

2. A Medtronic spokesperson told the StarTribune that invoking the Korean War-era Defense Production Act could cause retaliation by countries that supply the parts, especially because most countries need medical supplies just as much as the U.S. does during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Retaliation is a real threat, StarTribune reporters were told by experts. In the past month alone, countries have announced 33 export curbs — and that's without President Trump using the Defense Production Act on a grand scale.

4. Medical device supply chains are extremely intricate and took years to establish, so it wouldn't be feasible to recreate these chains within U.S. borders in a short amount of time, according to a supply chain professor at Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota.

5. Despite increasing pressure to give the government priority access to medical devices, the White House hasn't indicated it will go that route, said Scott Whitaker, CEO of medical device industry organization AdvaMed.

More articles on devices:
Medical freeze placed on NuVasive spinal rods in UK, Ireland
Michigan Head and Spine Institute surgeons take 45% pay cut during COVID-19
Nonsurgical procedures, mediocre care & COVID-19: 3 spine surgeons on the biggest threat to their practice

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.