Letter: Loan Program to Help U.S. Supply Chain
Updates to the letter
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In May of this year, the CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation was delegated under the Defense Production Act to partner with the private sector in response to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic.
However, after reading Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson’s opinion piece (“The curious story of Kodak’s pivot to pharma”, August 12), we were surprised to see his mischaracterization of the DPA loan program by picking winners and losers. Unlike government contracts, which can go to one business rather than another, you don’t “win” a loan; one is eligible for a loan. A loan to a business is not to the exclusion of a loan to another business. Likewise, unlike contracts in which the government purchases goods or services for public consumption, CCA loans require repayment on competitive terms and produce items for general consumption.
Mr Edgecliffe-Johnson assumes, however, that DPA loans should be earmarked for the benefit of companies that are already invested in healthcare. Under the DPA, public funding is only permitted by law when access to private capital on reasonable terms is not available. The reality is that many large pharmaceutical companies have no difficulty in obtaining private capital. As a result, the DPA loan program focuses on identifying creative and innovative solutions where government support is the only viable option to move a project forward.
Finally, the DPA Loan Program has a growing pipeline of dozens of applications for critical projects aimed at expanding or strengthening home health care supply chains. These applicants are at various stages of our rigorous due diligence process, and we look forward to working with the private sector and our partner agencies to identify innovative ways to create a healthier country. This unprecedented period calls for unprecedented measures.
Misinformation about these efforts will only stifle those who would otherwise be ready to raise their hands to help.
Advisor to the Director General,
American International Development Finance Corporation
Washington DC, United States