In recent times, the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) comprising of protective gowns, face shields, surgical masks, protective goggles, and disposable gloves is witnessing a significant increase as the disease spreads beyond China – the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, strong governments’ focus on stockpiling of PPE and about a hundredfold surge in demand are early warning signs of product shortage that may be on the horizon.
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Health Organizations Provide Guidelines on Rational Use of PPE to Bridge Demand-Supply Gap
Recognizing the widespread use of personal protective equipment outside patient care by common citizens to safeguard themselves from COVID-19, stakeholders in the supply chain are leveraging this opportunity to raise the competitive price of their products. Despite significant efforts to increase production capacities, supplies are stagnating and the market situation has become severe, mainly due to prolonged closure of factories in China. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned severe and plunging disruptions to the global supply of PPE – driven by misusing, panic buying, and stockpiling – is putting lives at risks of both healthcare workers and patients.
As the inappropriate use and supply shortage of PPE continues, the WHO has put forth several strategies to facilitate optimal PPE availability and normalize the supply chain. Using telemedicine to evaluate suspected cases of COVID-19 and physical barriers to reduce exposure and restricting healthcare workers who are not involved in direct care from coming in contact with COVID-19 patients are likely to minimize the need for PPE. The rationalized use and distribution of PPE along with rapid response to curb the spread of disease is thus expected to bridge the widening gap between supply and demand for PPE.
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U.S. Urges Nations to Ramp Up Production of PPE, China to Lift New Export Restrictions on Medical Supplies
North America and Europe remained key markets for personal protective equipment for both medical and industrial applications with major players expanding their presence in developing Asian Pacific countries such as China and India. Rapid industrialization, low operation cost and cheap labor in these countries have been securing a steady supply chain for global market stakeholders. However, the scenario is drastically changing amidst the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown of factories.
As the U.S. is facing a historic surge in patients seeking care of COVID-19, the government is using federal powers to force local companies to manufacture, urging other countries to accelerate the production of PPE, and seeking to purchase any quantities major PPE-producing countries can spare.
China’s new restrictions on coronavirus-related medical supplies including personal protective equipment – that allows only those manufacturers with accreditation to sell their products with China to export to other countries – came amid growing concerns about quality of various Chinese medical products. However, the country promises to lift the restrictions as several countries are still battling COVID-19 with massive shortfall of essential medical supplies. This, in turn, is expected to influence the growth prospects of the global personal protective equipment market.
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A section of the FMI’s report covers detailed profiles of key players active in the personal protective equipment (PPE) market wherein product portfolio, new launches, development strategies, and regional footprint have been provided. Some of these players include 3M Company, Rahman Group, Golden Chang, Oftenrich Holdings Co. Ltd, JSP Ltd., Interspiro, Honeywell Life Safety, Ansell Healthcare Products LCC, Gateway Safety Inc., Wells Lamont Industry Group, Avon Rubber p. i. c., JAL Group, COFRA Holding AG, Avon- ISI, Alpha Pro Tech Ltd., Eurodress GmBH, Bekina NV, Jallatte Group, and Z and V Group.