Should the Quality of Imported Medical Supplies Raise Concern?
June 2, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having adequate medical supplies available during an emergency. This includes ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, N95 facemasks, and gloves. According to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the pandemic has caused a staggering 40-fold increase in the demand for N95 masks in the U.S. alone, from 25 million annually in a typical year to a projected 500 million in 2020.
With domestic production of medical supplies unable to keep up with the demand, many countries have to rely more on imports. Reports of poor-quality medical supplies and faulty medical devices from other countries have raised concerns about the risks posed to health care workers and others who rely on these items to do their jobs safely.
Problems Reported with Imported Medical Supplies
There have been several reports in the news about quality issues with imported medical supplies. In the Netherlands, officials recalled more than half a million N95 facemasks imported from China because they failed to meet quality standards; the masks did not fit tightly, and the filters proved to be inadequate. These deficiencies caused great concern because the masks were destined for use by frontline health care workers, including doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients in critical condition. Prior to that incident, Spain reported that hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits imported from China were deemed unreliable.
U.S. Reliance on Imported Medical Supplies
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted shortages of quality medical supplies in the U.S. In a typical year, the U.S. produces more than 70 percent of the medical supplies that it needs. The source of the problem of faulty medical devices and poor-quality supplies is simple: unprecedented demand that far exceeds global supply. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous manufacturers have tried to take advantage of the situation to make profit. All employers and governments must be vigilant at identifying quality issues to protect frontline workers.
Engineers and manufacturers in the U.S. have attempted to respond to the surge in demand by utilizing 3D printing and other advanced technologies to design, develop, and manufacture new solutions as quickly as possible. However, there are numerous technical and legal challenges facing products made using 3D printing technology. The sheer volume of products entering the market makes it difficult to sort out which ones are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What Workers Need to Know about the Quality of Medical Supplies
Legal questions are being raised regarding the liability of manufacturers and distributors of low-quality PPE designed to protect wearers from COVID-19. If you were injured due to a faulty medical device or from poor-quality medical supplies, contact an experienced products liability lawyer right away.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Help Victims Harmed by Faulty Medical Devices and Protective Equipment
The Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP understand the tragic consequences that can occur when innocent people suffer because of faulty medical devices and substandard personal protective equipment. If you or someone you know was harmed due to the use of faulty medical devices, drugs, or protective equipment, call us at 800-222-8792 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.