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Industry Coalition Update on Government Procurement of Medical Goods

March 25th, 2020 / By: / COVID-19, News

Dear IFAI Members:

As you are aware IFAI, NCTO, INDA, and SEAMS conducted a member survey to develop a listing of suppliers of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the government in light of the current COVID-19 crisis. The response to our joint survey has been overwhelming, including the fact that information has flooded in from sources outside our respective memberships.  

As such, we have had to spend considerable manhours vetting information received and categorizing input in a fashion that is easily accessible and digestible for government recipients. We believe we now are at point where the survey results can be credibly shared with the government.  

As a result, we are in the process of identifying specific government recipients such as officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, FEMA, the Department of Commerce, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the White House itself to garner the greatest impact and benefit of the survey as a possible. Our goal is to ask the federal government to use our survey results to help inform sourcing decisions related to the emergency medical textile materials they are seeking to procure.  

Later today, our associations will send additional important guidance to our memberships on how to engage in the FDA waiver process, additional guidance on gowns and non-medical masks and how to engage in the FEMA procurement process.  

With that said, we are continuing to be proactive with our government contacts beyond the potential benefit of the survey, itself. Specifically, we are asking the government to establish a central point of contact to serve as a clearinghouse on all textile related, COVID-19 purchases. We feel this is critical so as to have an empowered decision-maker who can expedite and resolve fundamental issues, such as: 

• Providing a comprehensive product listing with precise product specifications
• Contract facilitation with the USG
• Securing appropriate and immediate FDA/HHS approvals for products and any other regulatory issues that needs expedited attention
• Defining Customer delivery terms – i.e., will the customer be FEMA, state or local governments, regional hospitals, etc.
• Mitigation of any CBP issues if a component of the production needs to be done offshore. 

The establishment a central point person for these matters will be the ultimate mechanism to answer the numerous questions that many of you have regarding this extremely fluid and fast-moving process. Further, the appointment of a key contact within the federal government will also assure a consistent and accurate source of information for suppliers and end-users. We will certainly share details once we have a determination from the U.S. government on this clearinghouse request.  

Finally, we have been inundated with requests not only from our respective members but also from outside parties such as state governors, local municipalities and regional hospital systems once it was made public that we were compiling a supplier list. We apologize for any delay in responding on our part to your inquires and desire for updates. We would note that such delays are a function of dedicating our resources toward attempting to construct a logical procurement system with the government and also ascertaining useful information from the government that can be transmitted to you as members. We believe we are making progress on these fronts but are obviously just one of numerous industries and private sector parties that are attempting to interact with a government that is consumed with the ongoing crisis.  

We are committed to working through this extremely arduous process believing that our joint memberships can provide legitimate solutions to the serious PPE sourcing issues facing the U.S. as a whole. As noted earlier, we will have more information out to you later today. Thank you for your commitment to make an important contribution in terms of resolving the COVID-19 crisis.  

Sincerely,  

IFAI, NCTO, INDA and SEAMS
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