Humanity comes over everything else. As thespreads across the world, infecting one and all without distinction, the American sanctions have not held by a Chinese company from supplying to it.
A Chinese company BYD has been given special FDA approval to import respirators for medical use to the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has last week rolled out an emergency approval process for China-based suppliers to supply necessary medical aid for medical staff. Nurses and doctors in the US have been desperately seeking respirator masks while attending to coronavirus infected patients. Many are said to have used makeshift masks that are not giving the same kind of protection to them against contracting the infection.
The aim of dropping the fence with the Chinese suppliers is a temporary arrangement to ensure quick and quality products to flow into the US. However, BYD does not have a sterling reputation. In fact, it has a trail of red flags on its record. Experts have pointed out its past records of having a history of supplying allegedly faulty products to the U.S., ties to the Chinese military and Communist Party, and possible links into forced labor.
While it is currently the first company that has received the FDA’s approval to supply medical aid, this is not its first line of business. The Chinese company is in fact, a major global player in the electric vehicle and lithium battery markets. In the past, due to its dubious nature of business, it is known to have been prohibited by law from bidding for some federal contracts in the United States.
There is a game of dubious production of medical aid starting to mushroom in China. In the first instance, BYD or Build Your Dreams is the first to penetrate the American safety net of domestic production that Trump created over his period of presidency. The company and now its subsidiaries too have quickly shifted to making medical masks, which might not be to the same standards as the N95. The Chinese equivalent is the KN95s, the most trusted safeguard against contracting the coronavirus through breathing. Up until now, the FDA had refused to approve them because of quality concerns. The concern still remains; but does not take precedence because the US is unable to produce and manage the demand domestically.
Political analysts are aware that the US is indeed on a ‘wartime footing’. It is therefore no wonder that they do suggest that the FDA needs to be extra sure before it lends a stamp of approval to masks.
According to a former FDA associate commissioner, Peter Pitts, it is important to oversee the production of such masks. Some kind of FDA presence must be made for at site. “The issue of counterfeit or substandard masks is very real. And those claims can’t be trivialized. That being said, the FDA needs to go beyond where it currently is,” Pitts adds.