This week, two Republicans in the Florida delegation--U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz–introduced a proposal to reduce America’s dependence on China for pharmaceuticals.
Rubio and Waltz are championing the “Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act.” 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 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from other countries.
Rubio has reeled in U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, Tim Kaine, D-Va., Chris Murphy, D-Ct., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to cosponsor his proposal.
“Over a year ago, I warned about our nation’s critical vulnerabilities and supply chain risk in key sectors of our economy, including the medical supply chain, as a result of decades of lost industrial capacity to China,” Rubio said. “The industrial capacity of a nation still matters, and we are learning a painful lesson as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Once our nation has recovered from this unprecedented crisis, we must take steps to address the systemic vulnerability and supply chain risk that the coronavirus pandemic revealed. It is unfortunate that it took a global pandemic to make clear the ramifications of offshoring our industrial base to countries like China. This legislation represents a serious, bipartisan effort to prioritize the rebuilding of our nation’s productive capacity.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has made clear what we’ve known for years: that our dependence on drugs and drug components imported from China and other countries is a threat to our national security and our public health,” Warren said. “This bipartisan bill proposes commonsense solutions to start addressing this problem, and I’ll keep fighting to secure our drug supply chain and boost manufacturing here in the United States.”
“The United States government should never accept the unnecessary and avoidable risk of allowing our medical supply chain to be disrupted. If American lives depend on these drugs, we should not depend on foreign adversaries to get them,” Cramer said. “Our bill rightly reprioritizes the Buy American Act and directs the relevant federal agencies to detail how much we rely on other countries for pharmaceutical ingredients.”
“This pandemic has further underscored the need to look at health care through a national security lens,” Kaine said. “It’s critically important that we gain more knowledge of and control over our medical supply chains to reduce our reliance on other nations and ensure adequate supply in times of crisis. I’m proud of this bipartisan legislation that will allow our federal agencies to determine how the U.S. can strengthen our security and our supply chains.”
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.
Waltz has not filed the bill yet but he weighed in on it on Thursday.
“Coronavirus has unfortunately been a wake-up call to the danger of American reliance on a hostile foreign power like China for medical supplies,” Waltz said. “We must identify our supply chain vulnerabilities and build out domestic capacity to eliminate dependence on China and other nations, for the safety and health of all Americans.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.