China's COVID wave may spur US supply woes

The nation's healthcare industry and medical supply chain are closely watching potential repercussions from a suspected COVID-19 surge in China, NBC News reported Jan. 8. 

In a parallel to medical supply issues in 2020, suppliers are now less reliant on products made in China, but amid uncertainties about the country's situation, White House officials and medical companies said they're looking for early signs of supply disruptions. None have been noted so far. 

The next few weeks will offer a glimpse into healthcare's access to medical supplies and whether the U.S. fixed its dependence issues from 2020 — or the imaging dye shortage from summer 2022 after one facility in Shanghai shut down for a few weeks because of COVID-19. 

Some of the products experts are watching include generic antibiotics, anesthetics and blood thinners, and electronic parts for devices. Potential changes to supply of necessary items could be apparent in a few months. 

"One major concern throughout the entire pandemic has been that because of China's zero-COVID policy, shutdowns greatly reduced manufacturing capacity in China. This is obviously that type of activity on steroids," Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota, told NBC News. "This is by far the worst of the supply chain challenges we've seen so far in the pandemics from China."


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