Walden presses FDA on virus disruption to medical supply chain

Congressman Greg Walden,

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee, joined a bipartisan group of committee members in writing to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. asking a series of questions and requesting a briefing on the potential impact the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on the supply of safe drugs and other medical products in the United States.

“As FDA and our other health agencies respond to this global emergency, we want to ensure that FDA is equipped to maintain its commitment to protecting and promoting public health by addressing potential shortages and minimizing harm for patients,” lawmakers wrote.

The members also noted in their letter that other medical products, including personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, are also manufactured in China, and may be impacted by the outbreak.

In the letter, Walden and the other lawmakers asked that FDA provide a briefing for committee staff on the coronavirus’ potential impact on drug and medical supplies.

“Specifically, we would like to know how many manufacturers, distributors, and importers might be affected by supply chain issues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are also interested in FDA’s ongoing work to combat shortages, including what the Agency is hearing from potentially affected manufacturers, distributors, and importers, and what steps it is currently considering or taking to reduce potential shortages,” the members continued.

The members also requested, among other things, information on how many alternatives are available for the human drug added to the shortage list, how FDA intends to handle notifications of drug and medical supply shortages, if the outbreak has impacted FDA’s risk-based inspections, and whether FDA will need additional resources to meet supply chain demand.

Read the letter to FDA here.

Learn more about COVID-19 here.