US pulls 25M isolation gowns from national stockpile over safety concerns

The U.S. has removed 25 million isolation gowns from the strategic national stockpile over concerns that they may not provide adequate protection to healthcare workers, Bloomberg reported March 25. 

The federal government signed a number of contracts for medical supplies from companies with little to no experience distributing medical supplies. Those companies may be untested in their ability to deliver quality isolation gowns, according to Bloomberg

The strategic national stockpile purchased more than 80 million isolation gowns from a variety of untested companies last September, Bloomberg reported. An HHS spokesperson told the publication those gowns haven't been distributed. 

If healthcare workers wear isolation gowns that don't provide the proper level of protection, it puts them at risk of exposure to viruses. An independent health safety nonprofit last November found that half of a set of disposable hospital gowns it tested didn't meet the appropriate level of protection, Bloomberg reported. 

HHS is looking to determine if the 25 million gowns pulled from the stockpile meet level 2 protection, meaning they provide enough protection for procedures like drawing blood or inserting an IV. If they do, they can be returned to the stockpile, HHS told Bloomberg

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