Four companies get Department of Justice permission to cooperate to bring personal-protective equipment into the United States.

search for personal-protective equipment (PPE)

Source Document: Letter from U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim regarding personal-protective equipment (PPE).

Four U.S. companies get U.S Department of Justice permission to work together to bring personal-protective equipment (PPE) into the United States.

In an 11-page letter, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said the companies working together to find PPE for the fight against COVID-19 will not subject them to antitrust violations.

“The Proposed Conduct appears to meet at least several of the factors that the Supreme Court requires before finding conduct immune, such as FEMA’s and HHS’s regulatory authority and direction under that authority,” Delrahim wrote. The companies are cooperating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to location personal-protective equipment (PPE). Hospitals in COVID-19 hot zones are running short of personal-protective equipment, and those located in areas not yet experiencing an outbreak fear they will run out.

In a request to Justice Department, the companies, McKesson Corporation, Owens & Minor, Inc., Cardinal Health, Inc., and Henry Schein, Inc., asked the department to review their work and assure it did not violate antitrust laws.

With medical supplies running low throughout the U.S., the companies plan to look worldwide to find equipment. The equipment described in the letter includes masks, gowns, gloves, and oxygen.

According to the letter and public announcements by President Trump, Project Airbridge to bring PPE to the U.S. started before the companies receiving the clearance from Justi
ce. In an effort to speed delivery of the equipment President Trump announced the private-public effort March 29 in a cabinet meeting.

“Project Airbridge includes a series of flights organized by the U.S. Government to quickly bring
large quantities of medical supplies to the country to help fight COVID-19. Attorneys from the Department’s Antitrust Division participate in regular communications with the federal agencies organizing Project Airbridge, and in many cases directly observe the associated collaborative activity,”

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