Posted 25 September 2017
By Zachary Brennan
With more than three million Americans in Puerto Rico facing no electricity because of Hurricane Maria, medical device and biopharmaceutical companies, many of which have manufacturing facilities on the island, are doing what they can to work with the US government to help their employees and restart operations.
A spokesman from MedTech industry group AdvaMed told Focus at the group’s MedTech conference in San Jose, California on Monday that the group is working with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate with companies with operations on the island.
Device companies, which are relaying messages to FEMA and HHS through AdvaMed, are saying they need diesel gas to start generators at plants, in addition to efforts to help their employees on the island, many of whom are suffering from the devastating impact of the hurricane.
Ian Steff, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing at the Department of Commerce, told Focus on Monday that the government-wide efforts to aid the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico are ongoing, and the focus has been to help the people of the island.
He also said he’s heard from companies that there are stockpiles of medical products, but humanitarian issues need to be addressed before those products can be distributed.
A story published this weekend in USA Today also highlighted some of the responses from pharmaceutical manufacturers, some of whom said it could be months before operations are re-started.