In light of the personal protective equipment shortages arising due to the Covid-19 virus response, it’s no surprise that the U.S. government is evaluating the adequacy of the domestic medical supply industry in general. The effort was announced in Executive Order 13944. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security has followed up with a Request for Public Comments on Condition of the Public Health Industrial Base and Recommend Policies and Actions To Strengthen the Public Health Industrial Base To Ensure Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, and Critical Inputs Are Made in the United States.
BIS defines the “Public Health Industrial Base” as “the facilities and associated workforces within the United States, including research and development facilities, which help produce Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, and Critical Inputs for the Healthcare and Public Health Sector.” It comprises domestic productive capacity of medical products.
EO 13944 directed Commerce to issue a report on the status of the industrial base along with recommendations to strengthen it. For that purpose, the agency seeks public feedback on such points as the industrial base’s current condition, recommended policies to strengthen it, vulnerabilities, and extent of reliance on foreign suppliers. Comments are due by December 23, 2020.