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Oregon Delegation Calls for Expedited Approval of Local Personal Protective Equipment Manufacturing

[03/25/20] – Today Oregon’s Congressional Delegation – Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Greg Walden, and Kurt Schrader, and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley – called for the Trump administration to expedite and clarify the evaluation and approval processes for businesses to manufacture the personal protective equipment health care workers need to stay safe while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Health care providers responding to COVID-19 in Oregon and across the country are facing serious shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), including respiratory masks, surgical gowns, and gloves. This equipment is necessary to protect the health of workers and their patients, and prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.  

“We are deeply alarmed that the current supply of personal protective equipment in Oregon is inadequate to meet the urgent needs of health care workers on the frontlines of responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the Members wrote. “The United States is a hub of innovation and the supply challenges are surmountable, but it will require increased engagement from federal agencies.”  

The Members called for an expedited certification process for non-medical manufacturers interested in producing PPE during the pandemic, and for clear guidance to states about acceptable materials and necessary specifications.  

They noted that businesses across the region are eager to help, and have the expertise, facilities, equipment, and workforce to shift production and support the PPE supply chain during this pandemic.  

“We have heard from many companies in Oregon with the experience, facilities, equipment, and willingness to rapidly scale up manufacturing of garments and medical devices, but they are stalled by regulatory burdens,” the Members wrote. “For example, we heard from one business that manufactures tools and supplies for dental practices. They contacted our offices expressing an interest in shifting their operations to produce masks and gowns, but they currently lack clarity from the federal government on the specifications, materials, and certification standards for manufacturing these products for use in responding to COVID-19...Regulatory burdens in approval processes for PPE should not exacerbate the risk exposure of workers or patients during this national emergency.”

Posted on March 25, 2020 in Press Releases, COVID-19 updates.