- President Joe Biden unveiled a list of new actions Monday to strengthen U.S. supply chains, including using the Defense Production Act (DPA) to enable investment in the manufacturing of medicines and medical countermeasures, such as diagnostic tests and personal protective equipment.
- Biden, who took office as the COVID-19 pandemic was disrupting the flow of goods, framed the actions as a way to strengthen supply chains, enable reliable deliveries for businesses and create U.S. jobs. Along with the announcement, Biden held the inaugural meeting of a new cabinet-level White House council on logistics resilience.
- Medtech trade group Advamed praised Biden’s actions, saying that the “pandemic, severe weather events, and geopolitical unrest have revealed severe supply chain challenges that have disrupted health care, as medtech companies work to source and transport components, parts, raw materials, and key inputs for medical devices.”
Supply chains have been a focus of Biden’s time in office. In February 2021, one month after his inauguration, Biden signed an executive order intended to assess supply chain vulnerabilities and make logistics more resilient. The focus reflected logistics problems that emerged in the pandemic and continued to affect device companies, such as Baxter, Medtronic and Philips, into 2022 and, in some cases, beyond.
Biden disclosed his latest set of actions to improve logistics in the U.S. ahead of the first meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. The president, members of his cabinet and other senior administration officials will attend the council to advance “a long-term, government-wide strategy to build enduring supply chain resilience.”
In conjunction with the meeting, Biden outlined a raft of other measures that form part of the strategy. The actions include using the DPA to broaden the powers of the Department of Health and Human Services. The move is meant to enable investment in domestic manufacturing of essential medicines, medical countermeasures and critical inputs.
Semiconductors, shortages of which held up production at companies including Hologic and Resmed last year, are another area of focus. The U.S. plans to develop databases for global critical product supply chains, starting with semiconductor components, and continue to strengthen the supply chain through further implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act.
Advamed CEO Scott Whitaker called the actions a “major milestone” in a statement Tuesday. The industry group has a role in the administration’s Joint Supply Chain Resilience Working Group and the Food and Drug Administration’s Supply Chain Resilience Program.
“We look forward to continuing this partnership with the Administration, serving as a resource to strengthen sterilization capacity, as well as access to mature semiconductors and other critical materials such as helium,” Whitaker said in the statement.