Here in Connecticut during this public health crisis, we have all been coming together under the leadership of Gov. Ned Lamont to pitch in and work together to get the needed medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceutical supplies to those who need them in our state.
But that might night be possible under a proposed “Buy American” executive order that is being considered in Washington in the middle of this time of grave health and economic uncertainty.
This draft order would require Federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies to procure all their medical supplies and their components only from American manufacturers. That could put at risk the current international manufacturing sources and supply networks of, and access to, medical masks, gloves and other PPE supplies that Connecticut healthcare systems are relying on to respond an attack the COVID-19 crisis.
At this critical time, the last thing we need are more barriers when it is clear we need to think, work and act more globally. With hundreds of millions of people now isolating themselves around the world, the novel coronavirus pandemic has become a truly global event. We are not simply experiencing the event in a vacuum in Connecticut or America alone.
Now more than ever, we are entirely dependent on our global supply chains, especially those currently located outside of the United States. Our government should be loosening bureaucratic regulations and ensuring industries work collaboratively with governments around the world to ensure robust manufacturing and impactful distribution to effectively fight the coronavirus around the world
We always want to promote and utilize our United States-based manufacturers and suppliers and we should look into this policy in more detail at some point in the future, but right now we need to access and utilize the resources available, wherever they are, to get through these difficult times.
Everyone across the globe has been pitching in. A subsidiary of French company Peugeot began assembling ventilators using their 3-D printers at its plant in England. Brewers and distillers in Scotland and Europe switched their production facilities to make hand sanitizer to send to the United States and a pharmaceutical company just donated 400,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine made globally to Connecticut acute care hospitals as they combat the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that those with Lupus and other critically ill patients have access to the medication.
Many of our state leaders have taken the initiative and begun sourcing supplies, testing kits and other important medicines for critical industries in their states. Here in Connecticut, our state government is ensuring that if any critically essential industries need PPEs or testing kits, they will get them. The Lamont administration should be commended for looking globally for what is required and needed immediately. We need the necessary medical supplies now, produced and sourced in the most efficient, inexpensive, and quality way possible.
Forcing government agencies, those that are showing innovation and aptitude in coordinating and sourcing supplies for many in our in the middle of this crisis, to only buy American made medical supplies would drastically hamper the ability to respond to this crisis.
When sourcing lifesaving equipment, treatments and supplies, it is often a matter of life and death. When medically needed pharmaceutical treatments cannot be accessed and companies experience shortages, people are put at risk and lives are at stake.
Everything is more heightened and impactful in times of public health crises, including government directives that force new policies that could inhibit our response to fighting this virus now and in the future.
John Moise lives in Southington.