REASONS WHY VENTILATORS AND OTHER MEDICAL ITEMS IN LOW SUPPLY

The U.S. seems to be in short supply of all things medical needed to fight coronavirus. The answer a simple one. Money talks. Key medical supplies are being shipped by U.S. manufacturers to foreign buyers.

Blood is on the hands of those manufacturers. They have failed to take care of their own. Money more important than human lives.

I am going to open with a shocker. I shall close with one also. In between, the gruesome details.

Forbes reported on monday that 280 million masks in U.S. warehouses were purchased by foreign buyers.

The Forbes article written by David Di Salvo was published monday. Significant information for this blog was also obtained from The Intercept’s Lee Fang in an article published yesterday and from  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show last night.

Face masks have specific brokers. Di Salvo spent a whole day with them. He personally observed the 280 million masks being sold to foreign buyers.

A big number. Especially when doctors and nurses are wearing masks for several days instead of using only one time. Many of these first responders coming down with the virus as a result.

Di Salvo also discussed the matter with FEMA. He was told, The Agency “has not actively encouraged or discouraged U.S. companies from exporting overseas.”

Always a paper trail. The information in the Forbes article was discovered in the files of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection records. The Agency is required to maintain vessel manifests.

The records evidenced crucial medical equipment needed to treat caronavirus being shipped to East Asia and Europe as recently as March 17.

Primary items shipped included N95 masks and purified air personal respirators used by medical staff. As well as ventilators used by patients.

Such items in low supply in U.S. hospitals. One of the sources described the U.S. as “dithering” while the much need supplies were being shipped out of American ports.

I do not accuse Trump or his staff of any wrongdoing. Their sin is one of misfeasance rather than malfeasance. They forgot to pay attention, to watch the store.

Some examples.

Drive De Vilbiss Healthcare is a Pennsylvania firm. It produces supplemental oxygen machines. The company made 3 different shipments of respiratory equipment to Belgium in mid February.

Vapotherm is a New Hampshire firm. Involved with respiratory equipment. Recent months have brought a surging demand from international customers. The company added 50 employees and a second shift.

Vapotherm’s first foreign customers were Europe based. The result of coronavirus. The company then began shipping to New York City, Seattle, Georgia and Florida.

On March 8, Vapotherm shipped 2 tons of the company’s high flow disposable patient circuits used for operating respiratory aids. The circuits were loaded on a container ship in Los Angeles and sent to Kobe, Japan. The receiving company was Medicalnext Co., a health care distributor.

Vapotherm’s records also show respiratory equipment, medical garments, medical masks, oxygen concentrators, and ventilators sent abroad in the past 2 months.

A St. Louis company named Allied Healthcare Products shipped 1.5 tons of ventilator masks to Hamburg, Germany. The masks were used in the company’s portable ventilator unit.

Global demand for health care products like thermometers and pulse oxinators surged in early January when when it became clear the pandemic was getting out of hand in China.

While U.S. manufacturers were shipping to 24 different foreign countries, including South Korea and Germany, the 24 countries banned exports of all health care products in order to shore up their domestic supply. They took in, but did not ship to the U.S.

Trump imposed tariffs come into play.

Whereas the U.s. had not placed restrictions on exports of medical supplies, it continues with financial penalties (tariffs) on U.S. import of medical products. Such as personal protection gear, protection googles, pulse oximeters, hand sanitizers, and other medical products.

The U.S. had and is still trying to import medical items from China. The same China the U.S. has heavily tariffed. The same China Trump proudly says is paying the U.S. billions of dollars because of the tariffs.

China not a friendly partner in providing the U.S. with medical products.

Trump temporarily lifted tariffs on 3/10 and 3/12. The tariffs had been in place since 2017 on some of the medical products.

While U.S. manufacturers were selling to foreign countries in January and February, the Trump administration should have been stockpiling those products.

The current medical supply crisis exists because of a number of Trump administration failures. One or two alone might not have been a problem. Cumulatively, a killer.

There was a failure to recognize a “national emergency” till 3/13.

The federal government failed to start issuing major federal contracts for personal protective equipment till early and mid March.

The administration made cuts in international programs for disease detection and preparation.

Trump’s refusal to swiftly mobilize supplies.

Trump moved sluggishly to deploy the Defense Production Act.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pressed the Trump administration not to invoke the Act. Trump finally succumbed and invoked it for the first time on 3/27 to compel General Motors to build ventilators. When GM capitulated, Trump withdrew the Act. An example of Trump’s consistent leaning in favor of corporations.

Trump’s failure to recognize Covid-19 as a serious problem following years of dismantling federal programs designed to maintain international disease surveillance.

He cut 14 employees from the U.S.’s Beijing office of the CDC.

He closed the U.S. Agency for International Development Program in China whose purpose was to monitor disease outbreaks over the last 2 years.

In 2018, Trump disbanded the National Security Council office devoted to pandemic preparation.

The federal government cannot come up with enough ventilators and other medicinal supplies. The result of an absence of planning.

Trump’s consistent deference to industry. It defines many elements of the Trump administration.

Finally for best or the worst of Trump’s screw ups. Whatever way you want to look at it.

The Department of Health and Human services contracted with Philips Respironics to develop 10,000 low cost ventilators. Referred to as Trilogy Evo Universal.

The ventilators were never delivered to the national stockpile.

The contract did not require delivery till 11/22.

Sources suggest the Trump administration granted a “preferential window” to Philips that allowed the company to first sell, if it was able, the product to a variety of buyers at a higher price.

Philips has made at least 6 shipments of the respiratory equipment largely to Europe in the last 2 months.

When asked if it would now meet the acute demand in the U.S., its parent company Royal Philips N.V. said, “Philips believes that critical medical equipment, such as hospital ventilators and patient monitors, should be made available across the world…..”

What more can be said?

We are screwing ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 comments on “REASONS WHY VENTILATORS AND OTHER MEDICAL ITEMS IN LOW SUPPLY

  1. I remember listening to at least two reports on NPR where they interviewed AMERICAN manufactures of these devices (ventilators and respirators) who said that they would be happy to fill AMERICAN orders but they had legally binding orders on the books to foreign governments they were struggling to fill. But that could be overridden if Trump would only invoke the War Powers act, which he refused to do for much of March.

    There are legitimate reasons Trump is being criticized.

  2. Every single one of Lou’s examples of “misfeasance” could have been avoided if our government just had the power to forcibly direct the production, sales and distribution of goods produced by American manufacturers. The government could mandate that certain products manufactured in the US can be used only in the US, and foreign sales would be illegal. All we need is strong regimentation of the economy and of society.

    Oh, wait. That’s the definition of fascism!

    • Hmmm, it is called the Defense Production Act. Trump has said we are at war. Therefore, if a device or mask or whatever is produced here or needs to be produced for Americans so be it. Not fascism. Survival.

      If for some reason you don’t like America or your fellow citizens…by all means leave when this is over.

      • I find it curious that while so many of us dislike and distrust Trump, and consider him to be driven by his own ego, Americans still urge him to invoke the Defense Production Act. Yes, he now has the power to order General Motors to produce medical ventilators. And why not rename it Trump Motors while he’s at it? Does anyone else see a danger here? There are many US companies volunteering to manufacture whatever is needed. Why do we need the heavy hand of government oversight and regulation?

        • Extraordinary time require extraordinary action, this is an emergency and it was appropriate to do so, even at the risk that he might wish to rename GM, Trump Motors. We need the heavy hand, because sometimes things that need be done and need be done immediately and by cutting through red tape to get it done. The war powers act is just such a tool. It WORKED!

          What is far more curious is why you want to twist something important when this guy Trump has been doing exactly this sort of thing on his own with impunity and NOT a peep from you in protest.

          Of course there is danger here, but no more so than there has been all along with him. He can do ANYTHING he wants and is safe from impunity. Where have you been and why is this suddenly an issue with you, or are you just having another one of your phony Kruthammer moments?

      • Totally misleading post from a known disgusting troll who is openly hateful of everything China (Puerto Rico & Jews)

  3. Apparently we need to clarify what law we are talking about here. I never mentioned the War Powers Act. The 1973 War Powers Act clearly does not apply here. And the first War Powers Act of 1941 does not involve any government takeover of civilian production facilities. I’m referring to the Defense Production Act of 1950. And yes, it’s important to know the difference.

    Nevertheless, you made a good point in your reply. If government can create red tape, then government may be best able to cut through it. A national emergency may require the citizens to give the President extraordinary powers, even while holding their nose as they allow it.

    I am still concerned. Powers given to the Executive Branch by the people will never be returned to the people. We should recognize the Defense Production Act for the slippery slope that it is.

    By the way, it’s spelled Krauthammer.

    • Semantics Mr Gault?

      You need to stop reading science fiction novels and then try and apply whatever to real situations – or the next thing you’ll do is try and push the idea that letting the rich get richer, that’ll some how trickle down to the rest of us. These kind of ideas just don’t work in real life.

      ..and oh yeah, stop constantly correcting other peoples simple spelling errors, even if you can’t help yourself. It really makes you look like a pompous bastard.

  4. Sorry, I’m really not into trickle down economics. My concern here, before you went off topic, is that we should be very wary of giving Mr Trump too much power, even if it helps to fix our medical supply line problems. He will, of course, promise that we can go back to our tradition of civilian owned industries when this crisis is over. But that hasn’t gone well for other countries, has it?

    As for the pompous bastard part, you have me there. When I was born my parents wanted to name me Pompous, but they couldn’t spell it. They were married, however, so the bastard part doesn’t work.

    • You really don’t get it do you?

      This guy has already gone too far, does what he wants and can not be held accountable, EVER! It is these stupid Federalist Libertarian ideas that don’t work that has created a totalitarian president capable of whatever HE wants with no checks and balances and you want to talk about a little “red tape” fascism?

      Think the rest of us are wrong? Google Jared Kushner

  5. Headline – “Captain who raised alarm about coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier fired” – Let that sink in a little bit!

    • A naval Aircraft Carrier is in trouble because or a serious medical crisis aboard threatens it’s ability to operate. The captain sends out an SOS for help, and what happens, HE gets fired. Where have we heard this before?

  6. The factory for the production of masks is owned by 3M and it is located in Red China. China will not permit any masks to be shipped to the USA. Well Smithfield Foods is one of the worlds processor of pork and beef and is a China owned Company in the USA. If Shea can cut off our masks why can we not shut off their supply of meat from Smithfield. You know what they say ” Let them eat masks”

    • Totally misleading junk post from a known troll who is openly disgusting hateful of everything China (Puerto Rico & Jews)

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