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FDA, Other Companies Prioritize PPE: Some Nurses Are 'Breathing Easier'

By Brielle Benyon
The FDA recently stated that it is taking steps to mitigate the personal protective equipment (PPE) and device shortage for healthcare professionals amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The agency provided instructions to manufacturers that are importing PPE equipment and other devices.

FDA Works to Expedite Imports

“One of FDA’s priorities in combating the COVID-19 pandemic is facilitating access to critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and devices. We are engaging with importers and others involved in the import trade community during this pandemic to facilitate the entry of needed products, including PPE, into the U.S. These instructions to importers clarify the types of PPE that can be imported without engaging with FDA,” the FDA said in a statement.

Nurses, doctors, and other clinicians around the country have been facing PPE shortages lately. Earlier this week, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) published interim guidelines for PPE use that they stated “were not ideal.” 

The FDA mentioned that it has adjusted its import screening to speed up the entry of legitimate products into the country, while also continually monitoring the import system to “prevent and mitigate any potential issues.”

“The agency is providing maximum flexibility to those seeking to bring PPE into the U.S. and are ready and available to engage with importers to minimize disruptions during the importing process,” the FDA said.

Companies Chip in to Help

Stateside, many American companies are beginning to manufacture medical supplies, and the FDA said that it’s setting up additional avenues of communication with these companies.

Oncology Nursing News’ co-editor in chief, Patricia Jakel, MN, RN, AOCN, an advance practice nurse for the Solid Tumor Program at UCLA Healthcare, said that these efforts have provided a huge relief.

“UCLA had no face shields last week, limited N95 mask but a big shipment arrived yesterday sponsored by Tesla and Elon Musk. I am breathing easier,” she said.

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