FDA Issues Coronavirus Supply Chain Update

FDA reports no personal protective equipment supply shortages
depection of coronaviruw disrupting the economy

The Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a letter outlining the current status of the various supply chains related to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disease outbreak.

Stephen M. Hahn M.D. offered the following supply chain overview on February 27, 2020.

‘As I have previously communicated, the FDA has been closely monitoring the supply chain with the expectation that the COVID-19 outbreak would likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the USA.’

Since January 24, the FDA has been in touch with more than 180 manufacturers of human drugs, not only to remind them of applicable legal requirements for notifying the FDA of any anticipated supply disruptions.

But, we also asked them to evaluate their entire supply chain, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (the main ingredient in the drug and part that produces the intended effects, e.g., acetaminophen) and other components manufactured in China.

Also, as part of our efforts, the FDA has identified about 20 other drugs, which solely source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished drug products from China. 

We have been in contact with those firms to assess whether they face any drug shortage risks due to the outbreak. 

None of these firms have reported any shortage to date. Also, these drugs are considered non-critical drugs.

We will remain in contact with manufacturers so that we can continue to assist them with any potential issues in the fastest way.

We are aware of 63 manufacturers that represent 72 facilities in China that produce essential medical devices; we have contacted all of them. 

Essential devices are those that may be prone to a potential shortage if there is a supply disruption. We are aware that several of these facilities in China are adversely affected by COVID-19, citing workforce challenges, including the necessary quarantine of workers. 

While the FDA continues to assess whether manufacturing disruptions will affect the overall market availability of these products, there are currently no reported shortages for these types of medical devices within the U.S. market.

Regarding personal protective equipment—surgical gowns, gloves, masks, respirator protective devices, or other medical equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness—the FDA has heard reports of increased market demand and supply challenges for some of these products. 

However, the FDA is currently not aware of specific widespread shortages of medical devices, but we are aware of reports from CDC and other U.S. partners of the increased ordering of a range of human medical products through distributors as some healthcare facilities in the U.S. are preparing for potential needs if the outbreak becomes severe.

It is important to note that no law exists requiring medical device manufacturers to notify the FDA when they become aware of a circumstance, including discontinuation of a product, that could lead to a potential shortage.

And, manufacturers are not required to respond when the FDA requests information about potential supply chain disruption. 

Additionally, the FDA is not aware of any cellular or gene therapies that are made in China for the U.S. market. 

There are no shortages of biologics to report at this time.

The potential for transmission of COVID-19 by blood and blood components is unknown at this time; however, respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion. 

Further, there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19.

The FDA has made information available to blood establishments and to establishments that manufacture human cells, tissues, or cellular or tissue-based products that may wish to consider additional donor screening measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Furthermore, we are not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

As with prior emergencies, the FDA has taken proactive steps to establish and remain in contact with medical device manufacturers and others in the supply chain, including hospitals and group purchasing organizations.

The FDA is using all our existing authorities to address COVID-19, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to further strengthen our response capabilities and emergency preparedness. 

The agency also encourages manufacturers and healthcare facilities to report any supply disruptions to the device shortages mailbox, [email protected].

Coronavirus supply chain news published by Precision Vaccinations.