Rubio, Warren to introduce pharmaceutical supply chain review legislation

Greg Nash

Two U.S. senators want a review of the U.S. drug manufacturing industry, claiming that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic exposed a dependence on drugs manufactured in China and other countries.

Reuters reported Tuesday that Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will introduce a bipartisan bill Tuesday that would establish a study on the effects of the U.S.’s reliance on foreign companies when it comes to acquiring necessary medicines.

The bill would reportedly require the Federal Trade Commission and Treasury secretary to conduct the research. 

Rubio told Reuters that the bill would provide lawmakers the information necessary to address inefficiencies in the U.S. supply chain.

“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,” added Warren in a statement to the news service.

An aide told Reuters that Rubio and Warren want to get a sense of all foreign investment in domestic pharmaceutical firms.

Earlier this year, calls grew for the U.S. to reduce its decades-long dependence on China for key medicines and supplies as Americans faced widespread shortages in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers and Trump administration officials said the virus exposed just how vulnerable the U.S. was as it leaned on China and other nations to help provide the tools necessary to combat the pathogen.

Peter Navarro, President Trump’s economic adviser, pledged in April that the United States would move away from its reliance on other nations and toward building up its own capabilities to produce drugs and medical supplies.

“One of the things that this crisis has taught us, sir, is that we are dangerously overdependent on a global supply chain,” Navarro said during a White House press briefing, standing next to Trump. “Never again should we rely on the rest of the world for our essential medicines and countermeasures.”

Trump that month also indicated he was seeking further independence on supplies, telling pharmaceutical companies that the virus “shows the importance of bringing manufacturing back to America so that we are producing, at home, the medicines and equipment and everything else that we need to protect the public’s health.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Marco Rubio medical supply chain
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