Florida mask maker says it has 30 million N95s it can't sell

Though N95 masks remain in high demand across the U.S., many smaller American manufacturers are finding it hard to sell their N95 masks to hospitals and health systems, as they tend to purchase from companies that prefer to buy cheaper masks made overseas, The New York Times reported. 

DemeTech, a medical manufacturer in Miami, Fla., told the Times it has 30 million N95 masks for sale but can't find buyers. 

"It's insane that we can't get these masks to the people who desperately need them," DemeTech vice president Luis Arguello Jr. told the Times

Businesses such as DemeTech have to overcome purchasing habits of hospitals, medical supply distributors and state governments that prefer cheaper masks made overseas, particularly in China, the Times reported. Hospitals also tend to prefer the type of masks they already use because it takes too much time to fit-test new models on employees, according to the Times

Public health experts told the Times the U.S. needs an "ambitious strategy" of federal loans, subsidies and government purchasing directives to make it possible for smaller American supply businesses to survive. 

"The government needs to call the outsourcing of America's mask supply what it is: a national security problem," Mike Bowen, owner of Prestige Ameritech, a Texas mask producer, told the Times

President Joe Biden has directed federal agencies to use the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment and signed an executive order to encourage the government to purchase domestically made goods, according to the Times. But nonel of the half-dozen supply startup companies the Times interviewed said they had been contacted by federal officials. 

Tim Manning, the White House's COVID-19 supply coordinator, told the Times the government would announce new Defense Production Act contracts for PPE in the coming weeks, but that larger supply chain issues would take longer to solve. 

Read the full article here

More articles on supply chain:
Fake N95 masks reportedly sent to dozens of Washington state hospitals
Biden invokes Defense Production Act to boost COVID-19 vaccine, testing supplies
Nearly 13 million counterfeit masks seized last year, US Customs says

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