Feb 27 2020
My Coronavirus Plan: Combating America’s supply chain risk and dependence on China for pharmaceuticals
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
February 27, 2020
Across the world, news of the coronavirus outbreak is dominating headlines, and with good reason – the pandemic’s apparently high transmissibility rates and lethal danger it poses make it an exceptionally grave threat. The fact that China, ground zero for the virus and home to an overwhelming majority of ongoing cases, refuses to be transparent with its data adds to the seriousness of the situation.
As I wrote recently in an op-ed, the Chinese Communist Party is not a responsible global power, and the party’s blatant mishandling of the coronavirus has clearly revealed that.
Unfortunately, this was predictable.
Last year, I noted in Modern Healthcare that when it comes to the threat China poses to the U.S. healthcare industry, we cannot afford to be complacent.
And a report I released last February detailed critical vulnerabilities in America’s medical supply chain, warning, “the U.S. runs the risk of losing important components of its medical supply chain to China’s government-backed industry.”
At the time, those seemed like abstract concerns, but we now know they are real. Americans unable to buy medical masks and who see headlines about potential shortages of critical, irreplaceable drugs will be familiar.
The coronavirus outbreak makes clear how dependent our nation is on China for industrial capacity, especially in critical areas of our economy.
Health and Human Services Secretary Azar publicly acknowledged this on Tuesday when he confirmed to me that the coronavirus outbreak is “a wake-up call that perhaps we are overly dependent on a supply chain so heavily concentrated in one place in the world.”
That’s why I am planning to introduce legislation to curb America’s dependence on China that will:
- REQUIRE drugmakers to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the volume of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) derived from each manufacturing source,
- RESTORE Buy American Act preferences for pharmaceuticals, and
- COMBAT supply chain risk and U.S. dependence on China for APIs.