March 19, 2020Client Alert

COVID-19: Resource for Supply Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant risk to the U.S. healthcare system’s ability to treat patients, including potential shortages of hospital supplies used in testing and treating patients. The shortages likely will result from a combination of factors, from unpredictability about the number of patients who may contract the disease to barriers in the normal supply chain, as countries in Europe and Asia try to manage the epidemic.

The U.S. federal government is working to address potential supply shortages. Multiple government agencies are monitoring and managing shortfalls for a number of medical products. The summary below outlines current responsibilities within the federal government for various areas of the supply chain, including whom to contact to report shortages.

COVID-19 Testing Supplies

For laboratory issues related to COVID-19 testing supplies, including swabs, and preserving samples, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) hotline can be reached at 1-888-INFO-FDA. Additionally, for information on diagnostic development, please email

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - including respirators

For personal protective equipment (PPE), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends providers first contact commercial suppliers. If unable to work with suppliers, providers should contact state and local authorities that can seek federal assistance through the HHS Strategic National Stockpile. HHS is currently developing formal guidance for states to request supplies from the National Stockpile. For the time being, states should contact the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center at:

Drug Shortages

To report drug shortages, contact the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at (240) 402-7770 or

Device Shortages

To report device shortages, contact the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) at 1-800-638-2041 or (301) 796-7100 or

Biological Product Shortages

To report biological product shortages including blood, vaccines, tissues, and allergenics, contact the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at (240) 402-8380 or

Food Shortages

To report food shortages, including medical foods, contact the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition (CFSAN) at (888) 723-3366.

To find additional information related to shortages of FDA-regulated products visit: FDA Food, Outbreaks & Emergencies.

The federal government is working to provide additional updates on any supply chain impacts as well as using emergency authority to prevent or mitigate product shortages, such as lengthening expiration dates and using improved data sharing to more accurately track potential supply chain issues.

This fluid situation requires vigilance as new information becomes available.

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