Fortune Quotes Julie Letwat on Ventilator Production Issues

March 28, 2020

Fortune magazine quoted McGuireWoods healthcare counsel Julie Letwat in a March 25, 2020 article on efforts to increase production of medical ventilators in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Letwat is a member of the firm’s COVID-19 Response Team.

The article notes that medical manufacturers have ramped up production and other companies have raised the possibility of using their supply chains to assist in producing ventilators and other critical medical supplies. But industry executives and experts said there is a limit to how effective these emergency measures can be in overcoming the anticipated ventilator shortage, citing regulations, ongoing supply-chain problems and a shortage of trained medical personnel to operate the machines.

Letwat said the if President Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to order more ventilators and open new lines, “a production increase would take at a minimum 90 days, even if you have every part and everything you need.”

“But anything you say is a moving target,” she added. “It also depends on employees coming in and not getting sick,” when “one COVID-positive test could clear a manufacturing floor.”

Letwat previously addressed the issue of ventilator shortages in stories published by the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Detroit News.

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