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April 6, 2020updated 22 May 2021 7:34am

Shortage of medical devices such as ventilators an extreme concern during COVID-19: Poll

Verdict has recently conducted a poll to assess concerns about lack of enough medical devices such as ventilators during the COVID-19 crisis.

Verdict has recently conducted a poll to assess concerns about lack of enough medical devices such as ventilators during the COVID-19 crisis.

An analysis of the poll results shows an ‘extreme concern’ over the shortage of essential medical devices during the coronavirus outbreak, as expressed by 69% of the respondents.

Very concerned are 16% of the respondents, while 6% of the respondents are ‘moderately concerned’.

Less than 10% of the respondents are either slightly concerned (4%) or not concerned at all (5%) about the shortage.

Lack of medical devices during COVID-19

The analysis is based on 475 responses received from March through 06 April 2020.

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Supply chain dependencies and export curbs due to the widespread global outbreak of the pandemic are the main reasons behind the severe shortage, according to an analysis by GlobalData, a leading analytics firm.

COVID-19: Export curbs threaten the availability of essential equipment

Limited domestic manufacturing capabilities to meet the unprecedented demand during the COVID-19 outbreak is a concern in countries such as the US, which requested 3M to cease export of respirators manufactured in the US to Canadian and Latin American markets.

According to GlobalData’s analysis, the US requires at least 75,000 more ventilators and 5.6 billion N95 respiratory masks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The demand could increase further depending on the pandemic spread.

Similar curbs were announced in the European Union (EU), which restricted the export of personal protection equipment to non-EU nations, and India, which banned the export of sanitisers and ventilators since 24 March.

An estimated 95% of the masks in the US are imported, with manufacturers such as 3M and Kimberly-Clark having increased their production in China. Supply chain issues and curbs on exports are resulting in a limited supply despite price escalations.

The price of masks in Indonesia increased four times following the coronavirus outbreak, while certain ventilator models went out of stock even after their distributors tripled the price.

Quality and supply chain issues to result in a trend shift

Counterfeiting and price gouging of imported devices happens frequently with surging demand, says Tina Deng, MSc, Medical Device Senior Analyst at GlobalData.

With many countries curbing the export of medical devices such as ventilators, personal protection equipment, including N95 facemasks, to secure domestic supply needs, GlobalData expects a shift in trend in medical devices production from a dispersed supply chain to domestic production.

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