Coronavirus: Joint procurement of protective equipment achieves economies of scale
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
The joint procurement launched by the European Commission has proven successful but the equipment will be available only two weeks after EU member states have signed the contracts with producers.
According to the Commission, producers made offers covering and, in some cases, even exceeding the quantities requested by the 25 member states that take part in the procurement, for every single item requested. The joint procurement covers masks type 2 and 3, gloves, goggles, face-shields, surgical masks and overalls.
The Commission used a negotiated procedure without publication of a contract notice due to the extreme urgency. The procurement for most equipment concerned was launched only a week ago, on 17 March, while a call for masks was initially launched on 28 February.
“All over the world, there’s right now a tremendous need for protective clothing and medical equipment,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (24 March). “It is therefore a success that the Joint European Procurement Initiative has been able to secure on the world market concrete offers of considerable scale on shortest notice. This is EU solidarity in action.”
The equipment should be available two weeks after the member states sign the contracts with the bidders, which they should do very rapidly. The delivery time depends on the offers, the production capacity of the companies and the specifications of the contracts.
Specific information about the companies involved and the outcome of the procurement is confidential until the contracts have been signed.
The Commission declined to reply to a question from The Brussels Times if the equipment will be distributed to the member states on a need basis or “first come, first served” basis. It appears that each member state has ordered the equipment it needs and will sign separate contracts with manufacturers.