CDC ‘quarantines’ its own equipment
The CDC says it has \"quarantined\" some of its own stock-piled equipment following a 60 Minutes report that questioned whether the gear, recommended for protection against the Ebola virus, was defective.The story by 60 Minutes quoted former employees and internal company documents regarding MICROCOOL surgical gowns made by Halyard Health (formerly a division of Kimberly-Clark). The investigation first aired in May 2016 and was re-broadcast on Sunday August 27th 2017. Based on documents obtained under the FOI Act, 60 Minutes reported that MICROCOOL gowns were part of the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) which is maintained by the CDC.
In response to an inquiry from 60 Minutes, the CDC sent a statement saying, \"The gowns are being quarantined within the SNS inventory and there are no current plans to use them.\" The CDC's full statement can be found here.
In April 2017 a group of hospitals sued Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health in federal court over the alleged defects of the MICROCOOL gowns. After a nine-day trial, a jury found the companies liable for fraud and awarded $454 million in damages. Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health are challenging the decision in court.
After the story was rebroadcast Halyard Health issued a statement to 60 Minutes saying its gowns had passed tests conducted by the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, proving that they meet the \"highest standards\" in the industry. \"We continue to stand behind the quality and efficacy of our MicroCool gowns,\" the statement said.
At the request of the SNS, NIOSH conducted an evaluation of the MICROCOOL gown. Specifically, the evaluation assessed whether this gown model passed the Level 4 requirements of the American Standard Institute (ANSI). A final report of findings was published on the institutes website on July 28, 2017, and shared with the manufacturer: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/pdfs/FINAL-PPE-CASE-7-17-17.pdf