In a long-awaited and much-needed “historic turning point,” the Trump administration has taken the first steps toward bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States, ripping up contracts currently held by India and China.
With the supply of life-saving medications coming into perilous doubt with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers have urged President Trump to take a close look at just how unwise it is to rely on foreign countries for medical supplies America cannot do without. No doubt, when Chinese state media covertly threatened to cut off the supply of those drugs to the U.S. last month, it was the final straw for the Trump administration.
“Seeking to secure the nation’s supply of critical medications, the Trump administration has signed a $354 million contract that would create the nation’s first strategic stockpile of key ingredients needed to make medicines,” NBC News reported. “The agreement was signed Monday with Phlow Corp., a generic drug maker based in Virginia.”
In an interview, White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said the pivot back to the U.S. “will not only help bring our essential medicines home but actually do so in a way that is cost competitive with the sweatshops and pollution havens of the world.”
“This is an historic turning point in America’s efforts to onshore its pharmaceutical production and supply chains,” Navarro said.
Because there is precious little financial incentive for American companies to try and compete with Chinese/Indian factories that don’t have petty concerns like human rights to worry about, federal intervention is all but required if we want to shore up the security of our pharmaceutical supply chain. Such was acknowledged by Dr. Eric Edwards of Phlow in an interview with The New York Times this week.
“There are not a lot of people wanting to bring back generic medicine manufacturing to the United States that has been lost to India and China over decades. You need someone like the federal government saying this is too important for us not to focus on,” Edwards said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the move was “a significant step to rebuild our domestic ability to protect ourselves from health threats.”
It’s bad enough that we have to rely on an ally like India for some of our most important medications. It’s completely unacceptable that we’ve allowed the manufacture of these drugs to be taken over by a country like China, which has proven beyond a doubt this year that they are not our friends in any way, shape, or form. Outsourcing our pharmaceuticals to Beijing is a clear and present national security threat. The Trump administration is making the right decision here.