Five years ago, well before COVID-19 entered the lexicon, Henry Schein CEO Stan Bergman called on his peers at the World Economic Forum to think collectively about pandemic preparedness. It worried him that there was no organized emergency product list, and no directory of where to get such products when emergency struck. Soon after, Bergman’s dental and medical supply company became a founder and the private-sector lead of the Pandemic Supply Chain Network, a public-private partnership whose members include the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UPS, and more than five dozen health care manufacturers.
The group created a platform to convene responders and exchange information. Says Bergman: “You can’t do it in the middle of a pandemic. You’ve got to exchange business cards well before.” The network functioned well in recent Ebola outbreaks, and in response to COVID-19, it has sourced more than $200 million worth of critical supplies, like masks, gowns, and swabs, so far.