Medical-Gear Makers Sharing Production Info Get Antitrust Protection

Medical-gear makers are sharing production information and receiving protection from antitrust scrutiny, the companies and federal officials stated, as part of government efforts to better coordinate the distribution of N95 masks and other supplies, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it convened major N95 producers, distributors, and buyers last week for a first meeting to discuss the mask supply chain. That group is a subset of nearly 60 companies and trade groups that will share information on production, distribution, and pricing for in-demand medical products, FEMA stated.

The agreement is part of the federal government’s efforts to better coordinate the production and distribution of medical-grade face masks, which have become critical equipment for people treating COVID-19 patients. The effort includes big manufacturers, such as 3MCo. and Honeywell International , both of which have ramped up production of N95s and other protective gear this year. Masks and other gear remain in short supply as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations hover near peak levels across much of the country.

The project is operating under a provision of the Defense Production Act that allows the federal government to consult with businesses for emergency preparedness and response. President Trump invoked that part of the law by executive order in March.

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