Public health experts are closely watching reserves of vital medical supplies and medications, many of which are made in China. Some hospitals in the United States are already “critically low” on respirator masks, according to Premier Inc., which secures medical supplies and equipment on behalf of hospitals and health systems.
Chaun Powell, the group vice president of strategic supplier engagement for Premier, said masks that are made in China are being diverted for use there. As a result, “there’s not as much supply to ship,” he said. Additionally, China is the dominant supplier of the raw ingredients needed for penicillin, ibuprofen and even aspirin — drugs taken daily by millions of Americans and dispensed routinely to hospital patients.