Aug 15, 2020 - Health

FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage

A medical worker handling a coronavirus test in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11.
A medical worker handling a coronavirus test in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 11. Photo: Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday released its first-ever list of medical devices needed to respond to the coronavirus that are in short supply.

Why it matters: The list includes surgical gowns, gloves, masks, certain ventilators and testing supplies that medical workers require to effectively respond to the pandemic, which has infected more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. to date, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Context: The CARES Act, signed into law in late March, requires the FDA maintain a publicly available, up-to-date list of equipment determined to be in shortage during a public health emergency.

What they're saying: "The FDA continues to monitor the healthcare landscape and supply chain for resulting shortages, or meaningful disruptions to U.S. supply, of certain medical devices."

  • "During the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), the FDA has taken many actions to help ensure that patients and health care providers have timely and continued access to high-quality medical devices to respond effectively to the COVID-19 public health emergency."

The big picture: The FDA added multiple products used to test for the virus onto the list, including sterile swabs needed for sample collections and supplies needed to transport samples.

  • The FDA did not disclose the manufacturers of any devices on the list after determining that doing so could increase "the potential for hoarding or other disruptions in device availability to patients."

Go deeper: We're doing a lot less coronavirus testing

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