Rubio and Warren Introduce Bill for Increased Scrutiny of U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

By Cathalijne Adams
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Threat of Chinese aggression and lasting outbreaks endangers drug supply.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would mandate a study of the impacts of U.S. dependence on drugs manufactured by foreign countries.

If passed, the U.S. Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Review Act would require the Federal Trade Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to provide Congress with the study within one year of the bill’s passage.

Rubio and Warren’s proposed legislation follows closely on the heels of a Department of Homeland Security report that was distributed to law enforcement and government agencies nationwide on June 25, warning that the U.S. is “likely” to see pharmaceutical drug shortages if outbreaks continue. Indeed, America has already seen shortages of more than 200 drugs, according to the report.

“To defeat the current COVID-19 crisis and better equip the United States against future pandemics, we must take control of our supply chain and rely less on foreign countries for our critical drugs,” Warren said. “Our bill will require a study to show the effects of this overreliance and identify the tools we need to confront it head-on.”

Alarmingly, China reportedly dominates the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients for generic drugs and has demonstrated increasing antagonism to the U.S. as it leverages its head start in pandemic recovery.  

Meanwhile, concern is growing as COVID-19 outbreaks in communities across the U.S. are rapidly increasing, making the need to establish a stable drug supply ever more an imperative.  

“More than a year ago, I warned that our nation has critical vulnerabilities and supply chain risks in key sectors of our economy, including in pharmaceuticals, as result of decades of lost industrial capacity to China,” Rubio said. “The coronavirus pandemic has made it painfully clear that we must take decisive action to rebuild our nation’s medical manufacturing sector. This bipartisan bill would ensure policymakers have the necessary information to address our supply chain vulnerabilities, the consequences of foreign investment in U.S. pharmaceuticals, and reduce our overreliance on China for pharmaceuticals.”

For more of Rubio’s thoughts on the instability of the U.S. supply chain, check out Rubio’s comments during AAM’s “Crisis Brings Consensus” Digital Conference this May. For more on the overall state of the phamaceutical supply chain, listen below to AAM President Scott Paul's interview with Rosemary Gibson, author of the book, "China RX: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine."

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