Feds convene medical supply companies in bid to speed distribution

The federal government is overseeing meetings between medical supply companies in which the companies will share information on production, distribution and pricing for in-demand medical supplies to boost transparency in the medical supply chain, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 15. 

The government is offering the companies antitrust protection to discourage anticompetitive practices among them. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency convened the first meeting last week, which included such major manufacturers as 3M and Honeywell, the Journal reported. Nearly 60 companies are expected to participate in the meetings and share information. The Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Justice Department also oversee the meetings. 

The program was made legal through a provision of the Defense Production Act, which President Donald Trump enacted last March, that allows the government to consult with businesses about emergency preparedness and response. 

Other companies involved include Premier, Vizient and General Electric, according to the Journal

It is hoped that bringing manufacturers, distributors, buyers and the government together will speed distribution of medical supplies, experts told the Journal. Some of the participants said they will discuss standardizing product identification numbers so mask shortages can be more easily identified and help track where masks go after they're sold to distributors. 

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