AdvaMed Statement on the Sale and Privatization of the Federal Helium Reserve
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed, the Medtech Association, urged the White House to delay the sale and privatization of the Federal Helium Reserve until concerns about resulting supply chain disruptions are resolved.
“Helium is critical to the function and operation of key medical technologies patients rely on for their care. For example, it’s used to cool the magnet in magnetic resonance imaging machines. American patients receive an estimated 40 million MRI scans each year to help diagnose strokes, tumors, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and heart problems.
“Only a few countries worldwide produce helium. U.S. manufacturers tend to rely on the Federal Helium Reserve to meet the needs of the MRI machines installed throughout the country. There’s a real risk that these companies, and global companies that purchase our helium, will be forced to seek sources elsewhere. That’s particularly challenging, given the war with Ukraine and crisis in the Middle East, which has spilled over to the Red Sea, a major trade route.
“While innovations to use less helium in medtech are under way, MRI machines are made to last for years as an investment and aren’t easily replaced. AdvaMed urges the White House to delay the sale and privatization of the Federal Helium Reserve until outstanding issues identified by the Compressed Gas Association are resolved. Timely, critical patient care would suffer if helium supplies constricted further.”
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