AMA calls on Trump administration to address critical supply shortages

March 20, 2020

Urges immediate action, including usage of the Defense Production Act.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has called upon the Trump administration to use every effort to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by frontline physicians to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus.

While President Trump signed an executive order earlier in the week to authorize use of the Defense Production Act to boost production, it is unclear to what authority this is being utilized.

Shortages of PPE poses serious risks to the health and safety of the healthcare workforce, as well as the patients they treat.

“For days, physicians and frontline healthcare workers have been sounding the alarm that there is nowhere near enough PPE in the fight against COVID-19–a shortage that endangers patients and jeopardizes the entire response to this virus,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, in a statement “Physicians don’t have enough masks; they are wearing a single mask all day, cleaning them at home, and sewing their own protective gear. Confronting COVID-19 requires an all-hands-on-deck approach from federal, state, and local governments, and we urge our leaders to pull every lever at their disposal to ramp up test kit availability and to equip physicians and the healthcare workforce to fight the virus. Anything less is unacceptable at this critical juncture.”

Earlier this week, the AMA called on the administration to establish a “Manhattan Project” like effort to meet the protective needs of frontline physicians and other caregivers by expanding manufacturing capacity and producing supplies needed to ensure health security for all.