1. Answering the callAny doubt that this is the time for the medical device industry to step up should have been dispelled March 18 when President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act against the coronavirus. “It can do a lot of good things if we need it,” Trump said.
Invoking the Korean War–era act was kind of like drafting the medical device industry into a war — a war against the virus. Under the Defense Production Act, the U.S. Department of Defense could go to a medical device manufacturer and, for example, make a large order for ventilators. The law requires the manufacturer to treat the order as a top priority, fulfilling it before any commercial orders previously made.
Invoking the act could affect a whole host of companies making products that health providers will need to treat the sick. Major makers of ventilators and respiratory care products include Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Royal Philips (NYSE:PHG), GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE), ResMed (NYSE:RMD) and Allied Healthcare Products. Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) makes surgical masks and blood draw and testing systems, and 3M (NYSE:MMM) makes the N95 respirator masks that are supposed to be especially effective at protecting people from inhaling the virus.