HealthDay News — In an effort to prevent the United States from again struggling to have enough medical supplies in a pandemic, the federal government is seeking to make a five-year deal with U.S. manufacturers.

The agreement would invoke a rarely used provision of the Defense Production Act to protect companies from antitrust rules to ensure the country has adequate supplies of protective gear, medical equipment, medicine, and vaccines, the Associated Press reported. Large amounts of such supplies are now made overseas.

“Clearly it could have applications to what’s happening now, but because it’s a five-year look it’s intended so we can set up this relationship with industry, have those conversations and plan for the future,” Joel Doolin, a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the AP.

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