Pandemic Preparedness

It is time to learn from past pandemics. The Coalition is establishing a dialogue with key policymakers among Congress, the Administration and all industry stakeholders for the purpose of creating a streamlined and elevated channel of pandemic response products. Managing these product purchasing channels requires experience in warehousing, maintenance of fresh product as well as effortless logistical and communication capability between trading partners and procurement redirection if necessary.

The newly elastic supply chain must be able to work seamlessly with public health and homeland security officials and other stakeholders to determine product gaps and realistic production ramp up targets.

Similar patterns regarding medical products have emerged from recent pandemics:

  1. Experience shows demand spikes for these products are unanticipated, immediate and widespread
  2. Second, the supply chain adjusts order sizes to historic levels to prevent shortages

In response, orders are placed with numerous vendors which distorts demand. Often after over-ordering occurs some items are not ordered again for months creating additional uncertainty for suppliers. The supply chain for these products is efficient and based on historic demand patterns. Normal delays are anticipated and accounted for, but large, unanticipated demand spikes can create real or perceived scarcity and hamper the supply chain’s ability to support healthcare providers.

Pandemics have had similar impacts on the supply chain as a number of healthcare products are critical to any medical response in any provider setting such as gloves, masks and IV solutions as well as those that protect healthcare workers such as coveralls, hoods and face shields.