The Senate Finance Committee convened a two-part hearing on protecting the reliability of the medical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part I, on July 28, featured witnesses from the Customs and Border Protection, Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Homeland Security. The Senators largely focused on the ongoing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the lack of a national procurement plan for these supplies. Senators were also concerned about the proliferation of the fraudulent and counterfeit COVID-19 products that endanger frontline workers. Due to these many vulnerabilities exposed during the pandemic, many senators were supportive of incentives to bring the medical supply chain back to the United States.
Part II, on July 30, featured witnesses from members of the medical supply chain, including individuals responsible for the procurement of PPE, manufacturers of safety equipment, and frontline workers. Witnesses spoke to the challenges endured in procuring and distributing safe and effective PPE, and recommended solutions to improve the supply chain through transparency and innovation. Members of the Committee focused on actionable items to improve the supply chain, targeting supplies to vulnerable populations, and the strategic national stockpile (SNS).