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Coronavirus Report: The Hill’s Steve Clemons interviews Michael Alkire

Published in: The Hill

Clemons: Where is America is strong and where is it weak right now on the supply chain, when it has come to this virus and the needs that we have.

Alkire: Premier is a global health care supply chain. We have been actually contract manufacturing for goods and PPE for almost 10 years, all across Southeast Asia. From a report card standpoint, to answer your question, I think that obviously, with the first surge, we were able to get the appropriate PPE, the masks and the gowns and other capabilities probably four or five weeks into the virus, and we had a lot of troubles up front, and it really sort of exposed the weaknesses of the industry at large that we really didn't have this resilient supply chain that we obviously needed to ensure that our health care providers were safe. ... So, where we are from a sort of a progression standpoint. Obviously additional networks have been set up. We've created additional logistics. There's been these brokers that have sort of stepped into the middle, who are also obviously getting access to the product. But we've got a long way to go. We need to continue to think about how we are creating more resiliency in the supply chain. We've gotta have a much more diversified manufacturing base. We've got too much exposure in China. We've got to continue to diversify into other areas in Southeast Asia. Just as importantly, we've got to diversify much more domestically, as well as near-shore. So, we've got to really got to be thinking through what are those strategies that we need to be embarking upon to actually diversify those supply chains. ... So I think we're in the early innings, but from a report card standpoint, we're progressing. You know, I've been now talking about PPE, I do worry about the scenario playing out with pharmaceuticals. That's a little bit, in some cases, a bigger lift. So we've got to be very, very thoughtful around the transparency of where not only the finished goods are being produced, but also the raw materials and that active pharmaceutical ingredients. We've got to make sure we understand where all of those products are being produced. And we've got to make sure we've got more resiliency in the supply chain there.

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