Legislations to limit US’ dependency on China-made pharmaceuticals

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers have introduced legislations in both chambers of the Congress to reduce country’s dependency on China-made pharmaceuticals, arguing that the ongoing coronavirus crisis has exposed America’s vulnerability in this regard.

The legislation among other things directs the Department of Defense to determine the extent of its dependency on foreign entities for drugs, active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical components.

Additionally, it said, the Pentagon would be required to determine whether this creates a national security issue and to make recommendations to eliminate the US dependency on foreign sources.

”The industrial capacity of a nation still matters, and we are learning a painful lesson as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Marco Rubio, author of Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act.

”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,” he said.

Robio said 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 prioritise the rebuilding of our nation’s productive capacity, he added.

In the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has introduced Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act, the legislation that would take precautions to track active pharmaceutical ingredients.It would also prohibit purchases from China by the Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense over a two-year phase, create transparency in the supply chain, and provide incentives for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and device manufacturing in the United States.This legislation is being led by Senator Tom Cotton in the Senate and Congressman Mike Gallagher in the House of Representatives.

‘The time has come for Congress to take serious action to move United States pharmaceutical production out of China,’ Stefanik said. ”We have become far too dependent on China, and it is time that we equip our domestic pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to be able to efficiently produce these items here in the United States,” she said.

Supporting the legislation in the Senate, Senator Elizabeth Warren said the coronavirus pandemic has made clear what has been known for years that dependence on drugs and drug components imported from China and other countries is a threat to the US national security and its health.