A plan by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would direct federal agencies to review the United States’ reliance on foreign countries for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
Titled the U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Review Act, the plan would have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Treasury Secretary conduct a study on the issue in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
“COVID-19 has made it painfully clear that we must pass meaningful legislation in order to help rebuild our nation’s medical manufacturing and pharmaceutical sector,” Rubio said in a statement.
“To defeat the current COVID-19 crisis and better equip the United States against future pandemics, we must take control of our supply chain and rely less on foreign countries for our critical drugs,” Warren said.
Specifically, the legislation would require the review to look at U.S. reliance on foreign countries for pharmaceuticals and its impact on U.S. supply chains and domestic manufacturing. The review would also include how foreign divestment overseas impacts the ability for drugs and vital ingredients to be produced in the U.S.
“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed serious vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains and made clear that we must combat America’s dependence on foreign nations for essential generic drugs, antibiotics, vaccines, PPE, and other critical health care products,” said Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx and Chairwoman of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) Healthcare Committee, in a statement supporting the legislation.
CPA research released last year revealed that reshoring all pharmaceutical production to the U.S. would create more than 800,000 American jobs. Likewise, reshoring all medical supplies to the U.S. has the potential to create more than 300,000 American jobs.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted and China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), nearly five million American manufacturing jobs have been eliminated from the American economy — 3.4 million of which are due to U.S. free trade with China.
The results of U.S. free trade with China have meant the U.S. currently depends on China to produce an estimated 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients that are needed to manufacture drugs in the U.S.
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