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Dingell, Walorski Reintroduce Legislation to Strengthen Strategic National Stockpile, Domestic Manufacturing for Improved Pandemic Preparedness

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswomen Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN) reintroduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2021, which would reform and strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to improve the federal ability to respond to future disasters and pandemics. This includes enhancing medical supply chain elasticity, creating incentives to geographically diversify production of personal protective equipment, and partnering with the industry to refresh and replenish existing medical supplies stocks.

“During the COVID-19 public health crisis, our frontline healthcare workers have been forced to rely on deficient equipment from overseas manufacturers or expired equipment in the existing Strategic National Stockpile,” said Rep. Dingell. “The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act will improve our ability to quickly scale up manufacturing of critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment while modernizing the SNS, providing America’s frontline workers the resources they need to respond to future public health emergencies.”

“One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 crisis has been the need to break our dependence on China for the production of critical medical supplies,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Throughout the pandemic, I saw firsthand the obstacles health care workers and first responders faced in obtaining quality personal protective equipment to keep themselves and others safe. To better prepare for the next crisis, we need to strengthen U.S. manufacturing of PPE and ensure we have a robust Strategic National Stockpile. Our bipartisan bill would incentivize the production of critical medical items here in America so we can maintain a reliable reserve of lifesaving supplies.”

“Medical products distributors have the infrastructure and expertise to help the Federal government improve our nation’s preparedness for future health emergencies,” said Matthew J. Rowan, President & CEO of the Health Industry Distributors Association. “Representatives Dingell and Walorski are showing true bipartisan leadership by proposing to expand the use of public-private partnerships to strengthen the stockpiling and distribution of critical supplies.”

Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic were given expired and outdated equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. This, along with the lack of critical medical supplies across the existing domestic supply chain, forced the United States to rely on China and other nations for the manufacture of this equipment, making it more difficult for the United States to respond to public health emergencies.

The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2021 would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2024 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program that would:

  • Create incentives to geographically diversify production of medical supplies;
  • Establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests; and
  • Work with distributors of medical supplies to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile by refreshing and replenishing supply stocks.

These reforms would strengthen the ability to respond to future disasters and provide frontline workers the resources they need during public health emergencies.

The full text of the legislation is available here.


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