The Department of Health and Human Services announced the first contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act, to Detroit's own General Motors.
GM’s contract totals $489.4 million, and it's for 30,000 ventilators to be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August 2020.
The production schedule calls for the delivery of 6,132 ventilators by June 1, 2020.
In a statement, GM said, "GM and Ventec Life Systems are working with speed and urgency to arm front-line medical professionals with the critical care ventilators they need to treat seriously ill patients. GM is proud to deploy its purchasing and manufacturing capability alongside the respiratory care expertise of Ventec.
"We remain dedicated to working with the Administration to ensure American innovation and manufacturing meet the needs of the country during this global pandemic."
After back and forth with President Donald Trump about whether auto companies were cooperating to transform factories to produce equipment necessary to fight coronavirus, this contract was awarded under the Defense Production Act, something Trump at first didn't seem to want to invoke.
"They said they were going to give us 4,000 much needed Ventilators, 'very quickly'. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke 'P'." Trump tweeted in late March.
Eventually, Trump directed HHS Secretary Alex Azar to invoke the Defense Production Act with regard to GM’s production of ventilators on March 27, and then this contract was awarded. The president has not yet tweeted about it.
Secretary Azar issued the following statement: “Invoking the Defense Production Act to secure ventilator production from GM and other companies is a part of President Trump’s all-of-America approach to combating the coronavirus.
"By rating contracts under the DPA, HHS is helping manufacturers like GM get the supplies they need to produce ventilators as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that these ventilators are routed through the Strategic National Stockpile to where they’re needed most. The Trump Administration has deployed thousands of ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile that have helped save lives in hotspots such as New York so far. We’re grateful to the GM team for working with the federal government to expand our nation’s supply of ventilators as the pandemic evolves.”