Restoring American generic drug manufacturing would create “hundreds of thousands of good-paying STEM jobs,” explained Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, on Tuesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour.
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it signed a $354-million contract with Phlow — a new drug manufacturer in Richmond, VA — to manufacture generic drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients for the national stockpile in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gibson said the move is “a great start [and] a great step forward for our country.” She then called on the Trump administration and Congress to further codify into law incentives to return generic pharmaceutical production to the United States.
Gibson said, “We’d bring back hundreds of thousands of good-paying STEM jobs for chemists, for pharmaceutical engineers, for transport of these products, [and] for cybersecurity” by reshoring generic drug manufacturing from China. Gibson explained that this type of job creation would be possible if all federal government agencies adopted a buy-American policy for purchasing medicine.
“I’m hoping that we can really grow a workforce and have a future for young people in this country where they can have a good-paying job and the satisfaction that they’re making medicines,” added Gibson. “These are really great dedicated people and incredible jobs, people who work hard every day making medicines to keep us alive, and I want young people in this country to have that as a future. That’s another benefit we have of bringing manufacturing back home.”
Gibson explained that the United States federal government is one of the biggest direct purchasers of medicine. Federal government agencies like the Departments of Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) purchase large quantities of medicine directly from companies. Making these federal agencies adopt a buy-American procurement policy would restore domestic drug production and create American jobs, Gibson said.
The federal government buys “medicines directly from companies for the [national] stockpile,” Gibson explained. “Our military does that, like the Department of Defense, the VA — they buy medicines for men and women in uniform; they buy them for veterans. FEMA buys them for their own reasons for disaster readiness. And so they can do direct contracts [with drug manufacturers]. With Medicare, it’s a little bit different. Medicare doesn’t go out and buy drugs. But what Medicare does is it contracts with health plans that reimburses hospitals, and I’m hoping we can eventually get in a way for people on Medicare and Medicaid to eventually have medicines made in the USA also.”
White House trade Advisor Peter Navarro has spearheaded calls for a “strategic reboot” of the DOD’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a program storing medicines and medical supplies. The SNS, he wrote, invests in domestic manufacturing via contracts for medicines and medical products with American companies.
Gibson praised Navarro’s efforts as well as legislative proposals from Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“Senator Cotton’s bill is what I call the Anything-but-China bill, which would set an aspirational goal of five years from now, the federal government will not be buying any medicines with any components made in China,” Gibson noted. “Senator Rubio has a bill that more directly addresses federal agencies like the Department of Defense to get them to purchase medicines made in America.”
Mansour asked Gibson how we could ensure that American consumers in general can have access to made-in-America generic medicine.
“We have to find a way to get this at the retail level,” said Gibson. “Government and hospitals [are] among the biggest buyers of generic drugs. Let’s get that started and then take it to the next level, and make this available to each of us as consumers so when you go into your corner drugstore, or your order it online, you can see that you’re getting a product that was made here in the United States.”
Gibson invited Americans to join an online petition she shared on her Twitter profile directed at the White House:
If you want to stop
dependence on China GO HERE https://t.co/TJnkKhINWF Tell @WhiteHouse Buy American Executive Order for domestic medicines should be signed NOW @Jkylebass @ACTforAmerica @DebbieAAldrich @BuyDirectUSA @cpa_tradereform @Freedom641776 @codeofvets @c5hardtop1999
— Rosemary Gibson (@Rosemary100) May 1, 2020
“Tell the president to sign the executive order to make medicines in America,” Gibson stated. “I signed it. I went in there and I left a message for the White House for the president. … Don’t underestimate the impact of that. I want us American citizens to go and also put in a comment saying, ‘Don’t water this down. Make it even stronger.'”
She added, “Let’s make them make sure we make [medicines] for every person in the military, every veteran, every senior, every working family, every child. So follow me on Twitter and there’ll be a chance for people to learn more and to actually take an action step.”
“Tell the president we should sign that executive order, now,” Gibson said.
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