Josh Hawley Introduces Legislation to Expose Chinese Monopoly of U.S. Drug, Medical Supplies

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questions Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz during a Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs hearing at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Last week the Inspector General released a report on the origins …
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Medical Supply Chain Security Act on Thursday to combat potential American drug shortages created in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China and to reveal America’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Sen. Hawley said in a statement that the legislation would provide the country with the information necessary to secure the medical supply chain. He explained:

The coronavirus outbreak in China has highlighted severe and longstanding weaknesses in our medical supply chain. This is more than unfortunate; it’s a danger to public health. Our health officials need to know the extent of our reliance on Chinese production so they can take all necessary action to protect Americans. This legislation will give us the information we need to better secure our supply chain and ensure that Americans have uninterrupted access to life-saving drugs and medical devices.

The spread of the coronavirus throughout China has exposed the deep vulnerabilities in the U.S. medical supply chain as well as the country’s dependence upon China producing pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Axios reported that the coronavirus outbreak has jeopardized the American supply of roughly 150 pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, generics, and brand-name drugs. Some of these drugs do not have alternatives on the market.

China exports 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of active ingredients used to make drugs in America. America is losing its ability to make pharmaceuticals because of Chinese dumping of low-price products into the global market.

Public health officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently have limited resources for assessing supply chain vulnerabilities. The FDA recently asked Congress for more statutory authority to require that manufacturers notify the agency when they discover circumstances that may lead to shortages in essential medical devices. Giving the FDA more authority would allow the agency to ensure that they can take the necessary steps to mitigate potential shortages of life-saving drugs and medical devices.

Hawley’s legislation would:

  • Require that manufacturers report imminent or forecasted shortages of medical devices to the FDA as they currently do for pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Allow the FDA to expedite the review of essential medical devices that require pre-market approval in the event of expected shortages reported by a manufacturer.
  • Grant the FDA additional authority to request additional information from manufacturers of essential drugs or devices regarding their manufacturing capacity, including sourcing of component parts, sourcing of active pharmaceutical ingredients, use of raw materials, and any other details the FDA might find relevant to assess the security of the American medical supply chain.

Hawley’s legislation follows as the Missouri populist wrote a letter this week to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, asking Hahn what actions he and the agency can take to ensure that American citizens do not face shortages of life-saving drugs and medical drugs.

The Missouri senator said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak has proved that America needs to “stop relying on China for our critical medical supply chains.”

Rosemary Gibson, the author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, recently told Breitbart News Tonight host Rebecca Mansour that the United States should pursue an industrial policy to renew domestic manufacturing of medicines and medical products in the homeland.

Gibson said:

I would have our federal government invest in helping to rebuild our industrial base using advanced manufacturing technology that can produce our medicines much more cheaply, safely, with less environmental footprint, and fully, from soup to nuts from those core raw materials to finished drug in one location all here in the United States.

Hawley also said Tuesday that the Donald Trump administration should consider additional travel restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States.

“This is a no-brainer. It’s not just China any longer. With the rise of cases in Europe & Asia, we need to take additional steps to protect Americans,” Hawley tweeted.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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