Medtech has stepped up this year to respond to medical device shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these impressive efforts, a growing list of medical device shortages remains. FDA maintains a publicly-available, up-to-date list of the medical device shortages tied to the pandemic. This article will highlight howơ the medical device shortages affect your online store.
COVID-19, China, and the tangled web of globalized supply chains
The severe medical device shortages revealed by the pandemic have led several companies to reevaluate their supply chains.
Plastics Today Editor-in-Chief Norbert Sparrow wrote in May that when much of China’s manufacturing shut down earlier this year, OEMs with a globalized supply chain had a come-to-Jesus moment. There are no simple alternatives. However, Sparrow noted. China has a skilled labor force and highly developed infrastructure unavailable at scale in most other low-wage countries. Reshoring and near-shoring can be options and they will become more consistent in the wake of the pandemic. However, there is a cost involved that some will find hard to bear.
“If the U.S government provides direct and proper support and incentivizes domestic manufacturers [of PPE], I believe there will be some reshoring of production,” Mark Bonifacio told PlasticsToday, MD+DI’s sister publication. “There will be a short-term effort to address reshoring and localization of supply chains. In Medtech, as in other industries, we have been talking about this for at least the last four years. It’s important to manufacture the right products in the ‘right’ places. For instance, Asia for Asia, EU for EU, and North America for North America.
Bonifacio added that when global conditions returns, market forces will be back in terms of availability, labor, and material costs.
Bonifacio’s firm Bonifacio Consulting Services works with medical device OEMs and contract manufacturers. He concedes that he has ties to a Hong Kong business with operations in China, which may color his thinking. He is an investor and board member of several U.S. manufacturing companies.
Rushing supplies to the COVID-19 forefront
As MD+DI reported in April, the Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX) set up the COVID-19 Information Center to help healthcare organizations and medical supplies manufacturers manage shortages and navigate a shifting supply chain. The group has also developed a Critical Supply Reference List to help providers identify supplies and potential alternatives and offer greater visibility into the fluctuating demand for products.
“The COVID-19 pandemic places intense pressure on manufacturers to get critical products into the market faster,” Denise Odenkirk, vice president of supplier sales at the GHX, told MD+DI. “GHX is leveraging several solutions and has created a few resources to help manufacturers.”
Supporting agile scale-ups to address medical device shortages
Also, in April, MD+DI reported on ATS Automation Tooling Systems’ efforts to assist medical device manufacturers in scaling up the production of critical devices during COVID-19. ATS is also working to enable manufacturers in other industries to quickly pivot to making products used in treating or diagnosing the disease.
For over 40 years, roughly 55% in life sciences, ATS has experience manufacturing medical devices requiring the highest product quality. “This is the world we live in, we are used to this,” said Andrew Hider, ATS Automation’s CEO. “We are a global organization, and we own many different companies under our umbrella,” he said, noting that the company has experience in the nuclear and automotive spaces in addition to life sciences. “The machines, the process, and the technology—we can build the entire production line, whether a portion of the full assembly,” he said.
Above are some consequences of how device shortages can affect E-commerce stores. Preparations are important at this point, so stores will not be seriously impacted. If you have any questions, contact us, and we will help you.