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January 22, 2021

AdvaMed Letter to President Biden on Defense Production Act: Ready to Continue Industry Efforts to Defeat COVID-19

Whitaker: "We look forward to working closely with you and your team as partners to implement a holistic, science-driven strategy"
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker sent a letter to President Biden affirming the industry’s support of the administration’s national COVID-19 strategy and sharing the industry’s perspective on invocation and use of the Defense Production Act (DPA).

Whitaker outlined the industry’s efforts to fight the pandemic so far, writing, “Our companies have been on the front lines in the fight against COVID for the past year. Even prior to government directives, this industry mobilized quickly to ramp up to 24/7 production of the PPE, ventilators, COVID-19 tests, and vaccine supplies our health care system would need to save lives. And we immediately established crucial partnerships with the federal and state governments to ensure that our technologies would go exactly where they needed to go as this virus moved its way unpredictably through the country.”

Whitaker illustrated the value this experience can provide as a roadmap for future private-public cooperation, writing, “Neither the medical technology industry nor the federal government can succeed alone. It requires exactly this type of holistic, collaborative effort. Furthermore, this partnership should reflect the reality on the ground and be firmly rooted in our industry’s experience, both throughout this pandemic as well as the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. We are deeply familiar with what works, what doesn’t, and which actions would ultimately prove counterproductive.”

Specifically, Whitaker highlighted the industry’s experience with the DPA, writing, “As an industry, we have had first-hand experience with the Defense Production Act (DPA), which was invoked throughout the course of the pandemic by the previous administration. Due to the breadth of products manufactured by our members, we now have a deep understanding of how it can be an effective tool in some cases and disruptive in others. We have learned that some of the most pressing supply chain challenges throughout the pandemic were less about overall capacity, and more about allocation, distribution, and “last mile” roadblocks. Whether it is providing enough PPE, administering tests to all who need them, or getting vaccines into Americans’ arms, it is critical that we work together to understand the true picture of demand and the various obstacles to delivering these products to those who need them the most.”

That work, Whitaker made clear, begins with “early, open communication and coordination between the companies themselves and our federal partners.”

“We encourage the administration to work directly with AdvaMed as the primary convener for this global industry, but even more importantly, we encourage them to communicate and coordinate directly with the medical technology companies in question before any invocation of the DPA,” he said.

Read the full letter here.

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 AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies. For more information, visit www.advamed.org.