Seven states in the northeast are forming a coalition to buy needed items amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are launching a regional purchasing consortium to jointly get items including personal protective equipment, tests, ventilators and other medical equipment.
The coalition plans to buy about $5 billion worth of equipment and supplies.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes the regional purchasing consortium will increase their market power and make them more competitive in the international market place.
Cuomo also believes it will help prevent price-gouging and will help the consortium actually get the equipment.
"We're much stronger together," said Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont about the consortium.
The consortium plans to identify U.S.A, regional and in-state suppliers that can meet the demand over the next three months.
"We're spending billions of dollars, why not buy from our own vendors in our own region. Why are we buying from China, right," Cuomo added.
It also hopes to develop in-state suppliers that would reduce the supply chain risk and would drive regional economic development.
"Just as importantly, what we can produce together. I mean, Phil Murphy, you got that amazing pharmaceutical industry there in New Jersey. Help us out with the reagents and what we can do in terms of the gowns being produced in Rhode Island, we can all do together to make sure that this next round, we control more of our own destiny," Lamont said.
The consortium is also expected to help each state get the equipment they need without having to compete against each other.
"So the notion of coordinating together as a region makes an enormous amount of sense. Sign me up and sign New Jersey up. We've moved in New Jersey alone 21 million pieces of PPE in the past two months," said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Cuomo said he believes it's a national security issue to not be able to obtain PPE in the United States during a public health emergency.
"This is an emergency service, right. In a snowstorm, you have to be able to get salt and you have to be able to have snowplows. In a hurricane, you have to have pumps. In a public health emergency, you have to have PPE," Cuomo said.
"I mean, nothing works unless...step one is you have to have the PPE that we have to go to China for the PPE. I mean think about that, you couldn't even get it in this nation. We started making our own in this state, but that's a national security issue to me," Cuomo added.a