As the COVID-19 pandemic has made painfully clear, the US supply chain is far too dependent on other countries for many of our daily necessities.
Prescription drugs that save lives are the main ones.
That’s why we believe it’s critical to find ways to boost pharmaceutical production here in the United States, so that we can declare our independence from foreign drug supply chains.
There were shortages of 29 of the 40 critical drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 patients during the first year of the pandemic. The combination of factory closures, shipping delays and a dramatic increase in global demand for COVID-19 therapies has rapidly led to shortages of essential medicines.
Even now the The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently reports shortages of nearly 120 drugs in the United States, about triple what they were last summer.
Our current system has long been a crisis in the making.
The pandemic has demonstrated why we can’t wait any longer to solve this problem. Even before COVID-19, there had been more than 250 drug shortages.
That is why we recently introduced bipartisan legislation called The US Manufactured Pharmaceuticals Act create federal incentives for essential medicines made in the United States, from generics to biosimilars. We believe this legislation will help increase the outsourcing of manufacturing of essential medicines and take steps to strengthen the domestic supply chain.
Both of us, representing both parties in Congress, agree: It is absolutely essential that America secures and strengthens its medical supply chain.
Our bill would establish a program in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide physician rewards or reduce out-of-pocket costs to patients using US-made generics, biosimilars and essential medicines.
Pharmaceutical companies will be encouraged to provide transparency on manufacturing sites and maintain adequate inventory. And they will need to prepare for future supply chain disruptions.
These policy measures should reduce drug shortages, and we know that increasing domestic production of prescription drugs here at home will also create more opportunities for well-paying jobs across the country.
That’s why creating our own independent supply chain isn’t just a national health and security imperative. It’s also good for America’s bottom line.
Our dependence on foreign manufacturing goes well beyond drugs.
China currently dominates the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and medical equipment such as COVID-19 tests, masks, gloves and pulse oximeters. China also produces many antibiotics and painkillers used around the world.
We have seen in 2020 how the Chinese government effectively nationalized production in factories run by American companies. This has made it much more difficult for the US government to secure personal protective equipment for Americans.
We are glad to see the Biden administration taking steps to improve the resilience of the US supply chain, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offering increased payments for hospitals when they purchase state-made N95 masks. -United.
But there is still a lot to do.
The good news is that we already have a head start in creating our own independent supply chain. America is a world leader in pharmaceutical innovation. The problem is that too much of our production stays abroad.
According FDA data, 72% of manufacturing facilities producing active pharmaceutical ingredients supplying the domestic market were located overseas. Only 28% are based here.
Our continued reliance on manufacturing drugs and medical supplies outside of the United States means we are one international conflict, trade dispute, or endemic away from a major drug shortage.
Medicines and medical supplies are essential national resources in the same way as food or weapons. Policymakers should treat them that way. We should pass this legislation to ensure our national independence for home medical production.
Markwayne Mullin represents Oklahoma’s 2nd District and Angie Craig represents Minnesota’s 2nd District. Both are members of the Energy and Commerce Committee.