MGI Inc. Says COVID-19's Biggest Supply Chain Bottleneck is Not Ventilators, It's Oxygen Delivery
15 Jul, 2020, 14:15 ET
BOISE, Idaho, July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- MGI Inc., a veteran-owned company specializing in oxygen equipment sales, says the biggest bottleneck in expanding patient health care for COVID-19 patients isn't ventilator and PPE shortages but something much simpler than that: Oxygen Delivery.
"While not every coronavirus patient needs to be hooked up to a ventilator, every patient does receive medical grade oxygen at some point during their hospitalization. Oxygen flowmeters and oxygen pressure regulators are the two devices responsible for delivering this life-saving gas to patients, but they are in short supply, and not being discussed," the President of MGI Inc. said.
With global and national demand surging since the onset of coronavirus, suppliers and manufacturers involved in the production and sales of this specialty equipment have been inundated with purchase requests, but with only 2 - 3 manufacturers in the North America, there are none in stock. Health care providers can expect a 4 - 8 week lead time for orders as small as 10 regulators, but with thousands of new patients being admitted daily, scalability issues could get much worse.
While some manufacturers, such as Amico, Harris, and Western Medica have been developing more efficient solutions for the delivery of the oxygen, such as increasing the flowmeter capacity of medical gas outlets, issues still exist with manufacturing capacity and labor shortages caused by COVID-19.
So what's a healthcare provider to do? Well, many have been getting in line, but an increasing number of providers and governments are turning to Chinese manufacturing as a solution.
At only a fraction of the cost of units made in the U.S. and Canada, oxygen regulators and flowmeters can be bought for less than $10 in China, compared to U.S. models that can be priced at more than $200, and while these Chinese manufacturers claim that their oxygen flow meters and regulators meet ISO 13485 international safety standards for manufacturing, there are additional certifications that medical devices require in order to be used in the United States. While this may be deterring some of the more sophisticated healthcare providers in the U.S. and abroad, some providers, either by accident or in a rush to serve their overflowing patient capacity, will inevitably purchase this equipment.
Countries experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases, including those within Latin America and the Caribbean, have been some of the largest consumers of these Chinese made goods. With tighter budgets and less stringent healthcare compliance codes, countries like Guatemala are almost exclusively purchasing Chinese made oxygen equipment, and with the already shaky reputation that Chinese made medical equipment has, the rush to meet large scale demand will mean lapses in quality assurance, which could prove catastrophic for healthcare providers around the world.
Additional equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19 includes medical gas wall outlets and medical gas alarm panels, both of which are at risk of issues related to Chinese manufacturing and lack of support during the medical gas installation process.
Empty Shelves That Should Hold Oxygen Regulators and Oxygen Flowmeters
These shelves normally hold between 2,000 and 5,000 oxygen regulators and oxygen flowmeters, but with increasing demand, manufacturers and suppliers cannot keep shelves stocked.
SOURCE MGI Inc.
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