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Internists Say Defense Production Act must be used to Produce PPE

Washington, DC (April 2, 2020) —In a letter sent this afternoon to President Trump, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said the Defense Production Act (DPA) must immediately be invoked to require manufacturers to make personal protection equipment (PPE) for physicians and other health care workers.  

“Such action is needed to address the COVID-19-induced shortage of masks, gowns, gloves, and other PPE that put frontline medical professionals who are caring for patients at grave risk of becoming infected and sickened by the virus, and then spreading it to colleagues, family members, and patients,” wrote Robert McLean, MD, MACP, president, ACP in the letter to the White House.

The letter went on to note the dire shortages of PPE that are being widely experienced and the drastic measure that some hospitals and clinics are taking to manage.  It also noted that while the administration has used the DPA to require General Motors to produce ventilators, that the administration should more broadly apply it to ensure an adequate supply of PPE.  ACP suggested that the authority should be used to:

  • Require manufacturers prioritize the production of PPE for domestic consumption and sale of PPE to the government for distribution. Similarly, manufacturers who produce masks for non-medical purposes should be directed to shift production to produce medical-standard masks. The administration should distribute these resources in a way that best reflects the public health need on the ground. Additionally, in conjunction with a joint resolution from Congress, the administration should explore imposing price controls on PPE and other medical essentials to prevent price gouging and ensure equipment and treatments are accessible to all.
  • In the long term, the administration should offer manufacturers the capital and equipment needed to expand facilities and drastically increase output of equipment for distribution and to add to the Strategic National Stockpile.
  • The administration should create voluntary agreements with private industry that would allow for manufacturers to coordinate on the production of PPE. 

“ACP shares the administration’s goal of containing the spread of the virus and appreciates the efforts already undertaken by the Administration to address some of the equipment shortage and price gouging issues,” concluded Dr. McLean. “However, ACP contends the threat to our frontline physicians, nurses, and health professionals is dire and immediate action through the DPA must be taken to circumvent the bureaucratic and lengthy procurement process and get the necessary PPE to hospitals and clinics in a timely manner.”

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org