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HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks about the coronavirus while flanked by (from left to right) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephen Hahn during a press briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters on Tuesday, February 25, in Washington.
While the US Food and Drug is not aware of any shortages of medical products being reported in the United States, it is monitoring some that could be at risk, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told reporters Tuesday.
“FDA is keenly aware that the outbreak will likely affect the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to suppliers [and] shortages of critical medical products in the US,” Hahn said.
In particular, the FDA is keeping its eye on personal protective equipment such as face masks and gowns used by health care workers. The agency is proactively reaching out to hundreds of manufacturers of medical products for information related to these concerns, Hahn said.
More on this: US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said some of the $2.5 billion requested funds would be used to purchase personal protection equipment for the national stockpile. On Tuesday morning, Azar told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee there are 30 million N95 respirators in the Strategic National Stockpile, and the US would need about 10 times that for health care workers.
Hahn also said that the agency is postponing roughly 100 scheduled inspections in China over February and March — mostly routine surveillance inspections meant to ensure that medical products produced in China meet the standards for entering the US marketplace. But he said these can happen at any time during the year, and the agency is moving things around so they can stay on schedule when it comes to planned inspections for the year.