We are over six months in since we first started tracking Covid-19 infections in the US, and experts agree we should all be prepared to continue to battle the pandemic for the foreseeable future. But what does that mean? It is more than just social distancing and practicing smart hygiene habits. We need to secure the medical supplies that we will need to win the battle both short and long term; and we can do that by supporting American manufacturers.
Some hospitals are expecting shortages of vital medical supplies and equipment to be an ongoing problem that may last years. The Association of American Medical Colleges lists strengthening American manufacturing of medical devices and equipment as the first and foremost action that our nation needs to take in strengthening our position to fight this virus in their report titled “The Way Forward on Covid-19: A Roadmap to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic”
The report suggests a multi-pronged approach that encompasses sizeable contracts which bolster our supply of goods for the duration of the pandemic. This, along with legislation and grants that encourage manufacturers to make the kinds of investments in our medical supply infrastructure that we as a country will need moving forward.
The medical device and supply industry need everyone’s support in order to weather this storm. The FDA is working with some of the manufacturers of respiratory devices in order to understand how supply chain issues can impact the sector, and how to potentially work with these companies in order to diminish the effects of Covid-19 shortages. Additionally, manufacturers from other areas (such as Aerospace, transportation, and industrial) need to be aware of safety, performance, and quality standards that the FDA requires for hardware if they want to enter the medical device space.
Increasing the number of domestically manufactured goods will affect more than just our supply stockpile. A recent study from MAPI suggests every dollar that manufacturing generates results in an addition of $3.60 of value into other areas of the economy. That is nearly 3 times the figure previously thought, making it a vital part of our overall economic health. With nearly 84% of Americans being worried about the economic impact of the coronavirus , supporting domestic manufacturing businesses (such as precision machining, injection molding, electronics assembly, and many others) could be the defining factor in long term American recovery from the pandemic.