Marco Rubio, Elizabeth Warren Want to Know More About How America Relies on Other Countries for Drugs

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., teamed up on the “U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Review Act,” a proposal which would have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) study how the U.S. relies on foreign countries for drugs and DNA analysis

Rubio weighed in on the bill on Tuesday.

“More than a year ago, I warned that our nation has critical vulnerabilities and supply chain risks in key sectors of our economy, including in pharmaceuticals, as a result of decades of lost industrial capacity to China,” Rubio said. “The coronavirus pandemic has made it painfully clear that we must take decisive action to rebuild our nation’s medical manufacturing sector. This bipartisan bill would ensure policymakers have the necessary information to address our supply chain vulnerabilities, the consequences of foreign investment in U.S. pharmaceuticals, and reduce our overreliance on China for pharmaceuticals.”

“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. “Our bill will require a study to show the effects of this overreliance and identify the tools we need to confront it head-on.”

Rubio’s office stressed the importance of his proposal and the dangers of relying on other countries.

“The United States relies heavily on foreign nations for its supply of drugs and pharmaceutical products. Today, experts estimate up to 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the requisite component of drugs used in generic drugs, are imported from abroad. This overreliance leaves our supply chain of critical drugs used by millions of Americans vulnerable to disruption — whether by accident or by design,” Rubio’s office noted. “This overreliance stems, in part, from foreign investment in the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain. While not all foreign investment is problematic, experts have warned that significant foreign control of U.S. based pharmaceutical companies could stymie domestic capacity and exacerbate the nation’s overreliance on foreign nations for its APIs, raw ingredients, and finished drugs. Despite the risks posed to the United States, the nation lacks detailed information on the nature of this investment.”

Back in March, Rubio introduced the “Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act” with Warren as a cosponsor.  The bill would have the U.S. Defense Department study how dependent it is on foreign drugs and determine if it represents a security threat. The bill would also have drugmakers to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with information on how dependent they are on APIs from other countries. U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., is the sponsor of the companion measure in the U.S. House.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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