Non-medical companies may lack the expertise to produce critical medical device equipment such as ventilators but are able to leverage their manufacturing facilities to make complying products, thanks to partnerships with medical device companies.

Verdict ran a poll to assess whether the efforts by non-medical companies such as Tesla, General Motors (GM), and Ford during the current emergency are appreciated or their lack of expertise feared.

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Analysis of the poll results showed that 84% are positive about non-medical companies supporting the production of medical device equipment.

A combined 16% of the respondents were either neutral (8%) or negative (8%) towards the involvement.

Non-medical companies poll

The analysis, based on 387 responses received between 26 March and 07 April, reflects confidence in the big names involved in the production and criticality of the situation.

How non-medical companies are helping to overcome the shortage of critical medical devices

The US, which is the worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak and is facing a shortage of ventilators, has allowed non-medical companies such as Tesla, General Motors, and Ford to manufacture medical device equipment to be used for COVID-19 patients.

The companies have partnered with medical device companies to ramp up production of the much-needed materials and equipment such as masks and ventilators.

Ford announced a partnership with GE Healthcare on 30 March 2020 to render its manufacturing capabilities to produce ventilators in Michigan. GE Healthcare will license its subsidiary Airon Corp’s FDA-cleared A-E ventilator design and render its clinical expertise. Ford aims to produce 50,000 ventilators in the first 100 days and 30,000 ventilators a month thereafter.

GM partnered with Ventec Life Systems on 27 March 2020 to produce the VOCSN critical care ventilators at the former’s manufacturing facility located in Kokomo, Indiana, where tooling and manufacturing capabilities are being set-up. Ventec and GM together have formulated sourcing plans for more than 700 parts needed to manufacture up to 200,000 VOCSN ventilators.

GM is also producing face masks for frontline healthcare workers at its Warren, Michigan, facility and in China through a joint venture with SAIC-GM-Wuling. GM is able to produce 1.5 million face masks a month and plans to add a second production line. Further, a new line for producing filtering facepiece respirators will be added.

With healthcare services not fully prepared to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, shortage of critical medical devices is one of the major concerns globally.