COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today expressed deep disappointment in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to limit the use of new technology to sterilize desperately-needed surgical masks in Ohio and other parts of the United States, according to a news release.
The FDA has authorized Columbus-based Battelle to sterilize only 10,000 surgical masks in Ohio each day, despite their ability to sterilize up to 160,000 masks per day in Ohio alone.
The authorization of 10,000 masks per day is limited to Battelle's Columbus headquarters and prevents Battelle from sending its groundbreaking technology to other states such Washington and New York, as well as Washington D.C. and the Virginia/Maryland areas.
"The FDA's decision to severely limit the use of this life-saving technology is nothing short of reckless," DeWine said. "Battelle's innovative technology has the capability to protect healthcare professionals and first responders in Ohio and across the country, but in this time of crisis, the FDA has decided not to support those who are risking their lives to save others. This is a matter of life and death. I am not only disappointed by this development, but I'm also stunned that the FDA would decline to do all it can to protect this country's frontline workers in this serious time of need."
In addition to offering this technology in Ohio, Battelle had intended to send one machine to New York City and one to Stony Brook, New York, which would have allowed for the sterilization of up to 160,000 surgical masks for New York's healthcare workers each day. Machines would have also been dispatched to the state of Washington and the Washington D.C. metro area.
Furthermore, Battelle had planned to ship four more units elsewhere in the United States next week and 15 additional machines in the coming weeks.
DeWine and Lt. Gov. John Husted pledged today to continue fighting for increased use of this life-saving technology.
The DeWine daily news conference is planned for today at 2. It was announced on Saturday that there would not be a conference "unless there is urgent new news."