Public-Private Partnership Created for Emergency Drug Packaging Solutions

COVID-19 Update

Date: March 26, 2020

Key Notes:

  • Partnerships between private organizations and public entities can facilitate and support emergency preparedness and response.
  • A public-private partnership (PPP) helps confront challenges and achieve objectives more efficiently than a public agency can by itself.
  • There are a number of different ways for companies to partner with the government.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services recently launched a PPP to facilitate the rapid deployment of prefilled syringes for rapid response to widespread health emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a national health emergency such as the one we face now, creating partnerships between private organizations and public entities is a creative way to address time-sensitive critical challenges. With 90% of our country’s vital health infrastructure operated by the private sector, creating partnerships with public health organizations can facilitate and support preparedness and response planning that is essential for ensuring safe and secure communities. These public-private partnerships (PPPs) can be effectively used to support security and emergency efforts in new ways to help communities in need, especially during or after a disaster event or health-related emergency. A PPP creates a structured working relationship between a public agency, such as a city’s health department, and a private-sector entity, like a local hospital, physician’s office or nonprofit organization, to confront challenges and achieve objectives more efficiently than the public agency can by itself.

For example, by establishing partnerships with private entities, public health and medical professionals and their organizations can benefit from greater participation in the financing or delivery of critical health-related projects. Other advantages of PPPs include reducing development risk, mobilizing underused resources, adopting proven models, improving service to the community and increasing cost-effectiveness. They can help mitigate the impact of and improve health-related outcomes related to a variety of threats and risks, such as severe weather events, terrorist attacks and infectious diseases like COVID-19.

HHS Launches PPP to Create Emergency Drug Packaging Solutions

The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. As of 2018, the ASPR is managing the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which is intended to supplement and resupply state and local public health agencies with critical health-related supplies in the event of a national emergency anywhere within the United States or its territories.

In this regard, HHS recently launched a PPP called Rapid Aseptic Packaging of Injectable Drugs (RAPID), with the primary objective of enabling the SNS to quickly deploy “hundreds of millions of prefilled syringes” for rapid response to widespread health emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak. The RAPID consortium will build a surge capacity network of up to eight domestic facilities to aid in the manufacturing of prefilled syringes using a well-established process called blow-fill-seal (BFS), which ASPR will make available through the SNS.

ASPR has awarded to ApiJect Systems America, the public benefit corporation leading RAPID, a $456 million contract for research and development of BFS syringes and the rapid prototyping and stability testing of select medical countermeasures in these devices. ApiJect will in turn recruit the other private and philanthropic investment necessary to facilitate the year-round domestic manufacturing of aseptic BFS prefilled syringes to ensure the SNS has the population-scale surge response capacity necessary for widespread health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


HHS has been using PPPs to work with American manufacturers to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. PPPs have been an effective way for HHS to coordinate with private suppliers, healthcare purchasers and federal agencies like the Commerce Department to ensure that their combined resources are focused where they are needed. ASPR continues to work with its public and private partners to find quick and effective solutions to address and mitigate the public health impact of COVID-19.


Thompson Hine has been assisting manufacturers in establishing working relationships with HHS in its vital effort to battle our nation’s current health emergency. For more information, please contact one of our Government Contracts attorneys:

Tom Mason

Francis E. (Chip) Purcell, Jr.

Ray McCann

Joseph R. Berger

Mona Adabi

Additional Resources

We have assembled a firmwide multidisciplinary task force to address clients’ business and legal concerns and needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our COVID-19 Task Force page for additional information and resources.

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