President Trump delivered on another one of his 2016 campaign promises this week with the White House announcing a bold multi-hundred million dollar plan to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the U.S. from China.
Dan Field, chief medical officer for MDstaffers, told Fox News this decision marks a return to the status quo that existed until just a few decades ago. Field told Fox News:
“Historically, the production of medicines for the U.S. population has been domestically based … [but] drug manufacturing has gradually moved out of the United States. This is particularly true for manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the actual drugs that are then formulated into tablets, capsules, injections, etc. … [in] 2019, only 28 percent of the manufacturing facilities making APIs to supply the U.S. market were in our country… the remaining 72 percent of the API manufacturers supplying the U.S. market were overseas, and 13 percent are in China.”
The COVID-19 pandemic that hit the U.S. this year has served to verify a worry many have had over our country’s dependence on Chinese pharmaceutical production. After U.S. domestic production of penicillin all but ceased around 2004, the vast majority of all generic drug manufacturing has moved offshore to save money.
Harry Kazianis, senior director of Korean studies at the Center for the National Interest, says our over-reliance on China gained ground not long after the U.S. joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2000.
China now cultivates the ingredients needed for Americans to stay alive in everything from blood pressure remedies to antibiotics. As Kazianis notes:
“Considering the geopolitical and economic challenge the United States faces from an authoritarian China, Beijing now can use its control of the … drugs … as leverage in any dispute with Washington.”
Health and Human Services Alex Azar believes Trump’s move is an “important step” in restoring this country’s ability to protect itself from health threats like the Coronavirus outbreak.
American Pharmaceutical manufacturers had already been retooling to move drug production back into the states, but Trump’s edict ensures the process moves ahead without hindrance.
Forbes reports that Phlow has developed a technique for making drugs called ‘continuous manufacturing,’ long used by other industries but still quite new for pharmaceutical companies. According to Forbes:
“Continuous manufacturing involves nonstop production within the same facility, which can save time and more quickly respond to drug shortages, though this can increase upfront costs.”
NBC News reported that the White House signed a $354 million contract this week that will create the first strategic stockpile of key ingredients needed to manufacture pharmaceuticals in the United States.
White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro, a staunch China hawk and the mastermind behind President Trump’s trade war with Beijing, said the move is a “historic turning point in America’s efforts to onshore its pharmaceutical production and supply chains.”
It’s a shame that it took the current crisis to convince the Trump haters of what he already knew, that China is our #1 enemy.
Source: The Scoop