Fri, 02-Dec-2022
Thursday 19 Mar 2020 , 3:55 pm

Medical Equipment Companies to Face Competition from Automotive and Tech Companies

With exponential growth in the coronavirus spread, healthcare sector is facing shortage for gloves, respirators, goggles, medical masks, face shields, gowns, aprons and etc. Medical equipment companies are under pressure to supply these products. To help to reduce this shortage, many automotive and tech companies are coming forward.
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Coronavirus has become a serious concern for one of the strongest economies in the world. In the United States, the count of coronavirus patients jumped from 15 to 9,259 in just a month. This exponential growth has affected the healthcare supply very badly. Required medical equipment is unavailable to treat these patients. Various medical device makers are on pressure to supply the need.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on 3rd March 2019 that severe and mounting disruption to the worldwide supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – caused by exponential rise in demand, misuse and panic buying – is putting many lives at risk from the new coronavirus outbreak.

To help to reduce this shortage, many non-medical equipment companies are coming forward. Apple iPhone Maker, Foxconn also switched part of its production to make surgical masks. "In this war against the epidemic, every second counts," the electronics giant posted on the social media platform, WeChat. "The earlier we take precautionary actions, the earlier we can prevent the virus, the earlier we can save lives, the sooner we can overcome this."

Recently, General Motors and Ford revealed that they were in discussion with White House officials about how they could support the production of needful medical equipment like ventilators to combat the coronavirus.

"GM is working to help find solutions for the nation during this difficult time and has offered to help, and we are already studying how we can potentially support production of medical equipment like ventilators," GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan told Automotive News.

About the matter, Ford’s spokeswoman, Rachel McCleery said to Automotive News, “Ford stands ready to help the administration in any way we can, including the possibility of producing ventilators and other equipment," said Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery”. 

Last month, GM’s Chinese joint venture, SAIC-GM-Wuling was the first auto manufacturer that built machines with a goal to produce 1.7 million face masks a day to help China for preventing the coronavirus spread. At the same time, Chinese EV maker BYD revealed that it was making about 5 million masks and approx. 300,000 bottles of hand sanitizers per day.

On Wednesday, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council said in an interview on Fox News that he had spoken with executives from two of the Detroit 3, without announcing the companies. He said, "One of them told me that, even while the men and women may be off for two weeks due to the virus, she's going to try to call them back so they can produce ventilators." and "They might even ask them to do it on a voluntary basis for civic and patriotic reasons."

The current situation is much worse than expected. The shortage is leaving the healthcare workforce dangerously ill-equipped to care for patients infected by COVID-19. For them there is limited access to gloves, respirators, goggles, medical masks, face shields, gowns, aprons and etc. According to the WHO modelling, a requirement of approximately 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID-19 response each month. For examination gloves, that figure is up to 76 million and international demand for goggles is 1.6 million per month. To meet rising global demands, WHO calls on governments and industry to increase manufacturing of these supplies by 40%.

About this issue, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated “Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first”.

These non-medical manufacturers are volunteering for the social cause and this is definitely appreciable. However, as per experts’ opinions, these companies may face hurdles before making a complex piece of equipment like a ventilator and it is also not clear how much time it would take to do so.

Neha Mule

Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.

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