Devicemakers ask feds to prioritize states getting ventilators

Medical devicemakers are asking the Trump administration for guidance on which states to prioritize sending ventilators to, as they are in severe shortage across the country, NPR reported.

The Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, the medical device industry's largest trade group, sent a letter to Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying its members would "appreciate the administration's leadership" when it comes to deciding how to allocate ventilators. 

Ventilators are used to treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19 who face respiratory failure. Many states are facing severe shortages of the devices, with New York saying it needs at least 30,000 more than what it has. 

New York City Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a desperate plea for ventilators in a March 20 address, saying "Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II." 

The Defense Production Act gives the president the power to allocate medical supplies, but President Donald Trump has so far not used the power to address the ventilator shortage, NPR reported. 

"We believe the most effective way to address these allocation issues is for the administration to designate a lead agency, such as FEMA, to oversee these allocation decisions with the active input of clinical experts," AdvaMed CEO Scott Whitaker wrote. 

Some devicemakers have taken the initiative to ramp up production, such as Zoll Medical, a company that makes ventilators for the U.S. Defense Department. The company plans to increase its ventilator production 25-fold to 10,000 per month, according to NPR

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