Medical industry warns of continued PPE shortages, counterfeit PPE flooding facilities

WASHINGTON, DC — Representatives from the medical supply industry and health care told Congress that fake and unsafe personal protective equipment (PPE) is flooding health care facilities and posing a danger to the frontline workers.

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Since the start of the pandemic, health care workers across the country called attention to the PPE shortages that led many to reuse equipment or make their own.

“Nothing has changed,” said Dr. Ernest Grant, President of the American Nurses Association (ANA). “I hear from nurses across the country that the PPE supply continues to be strained.”

Grant testified about cases involving faulty and unsafe equipment.

“The quality of the mask was so poor that the wires that forms around the nose does not fit properly,” Grant said.

Health care workers said they have also faced price gouging from manufacturers taking advantage of the shortages.

“Increases in prices for PPE up to six times to ten times original price,” said Rob Wiehe, the Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain and Logistics officer at UC Health in Cincinnati.

In response, the health care and medical supply industry urged the federal and state governments to take more action, calling for a national and state distribution strategy and for an increase in the national stockpile to at least a 90-day supply.

“These illegal products don’t just harm the financial interest of our members. They put the end user at risk of injury, sickness and death,” said Charles Johnson, President of the International Safety Equipment Association.

We need more transparency into manufacturing locations, raw materials and storage locations,” said Cathy Denning, RN, MSN, Group Senior Vice President of Sourcing Operations, Analytics and Center of Excellence at Vizient.