Senators introduce bill to allocate $500M annually to rebuild US medical supply chain

Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., introduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act May 19, a bill that aims to strengthen the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile and boost domestic manufacturing of critical medical supplies. 

The bill intends to incentivize medical supply manufacturers to strengthen their supply chains and establish domestic reserves of critical medical supplies needed for future public health emergencies. It would authorize $500 million annually through 2024 to: 

  • Create incentives for domestic medical supply manufacturing to increase the U.S.emergency stock 
  • Establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, testing and vaccine supplies and diagnostic tests 
  • Create joint industrial-based ventures to produce critical medical supplies 
  • Work with medical supply distributors to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile by refreshing and replenishing supply stocks

"Over the past year, we have witnessed how ill-prepared our country was for a large-scale public health crisis like COVID-19. While we were relying on China to manufacture critical supplies like PPE, our healthcare workers on the front lines were forced to risk their own health because we were unable to provide them with proper protective gear. By increasing domestic manufacturing of supplies like PPE, this bipartisan legislation will better prepare us for the next public health emergency," Mr. Bennett said in a news release. 

The senators said they plan to include the bill in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which is currently moving through the Senate and calls on the U.S. to invest more than $100 billion in emerging technologies to bolster the country's economic competitiveness and national security. 

Matthew Rowan, president and CEO of the Health Industry Distributors Association, said the bill would create "trusted partnerships between the federal government and medical products distributors to enhance our nation’s strategic reserve of pandemic supplies."

Read the full news release here


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