Outsourcing US Drug Manufacturing to China was a Mistake—A Lethal One

china drugs
Rosemary Gibson, author of "China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine," stated that within a matter of days, China could bring the work of U.S. hospitals—military or otherwise—to a standstill.

May 5, 2020 – In Breaking News – Newsweek

Most products we use include a country-of-origin label, from your Costa Rican fruit to Ethiopian coffee to even your Canadian car doorframe.

Unsurprisingly, many of these goods sport the “Made in China” label.

While the American public and political leaders have long lamented the exodus of American manufacturing overseas, rarely has it put us in mortal danger.

But the COVID-19 pandemic shows how the departure of one specific sector—pharmaceuticals—has left the U.S. dangerously exposed, at a fearsome cost.

It has literally cost us lives.

(A majority of the ingredients used to make the drugs commonly taken by Americans come from China. As tensions grow between the U.S. and China, authorities are concerned that China could threaten American health and security by contaminating or cutting back on antibiotics sent to the United States, an NBC News investigation found. Courtesy of NBC News and YouTube. Posted on Sep 12, 2019.)

The U.S. Government and private industry need to immediately recognize this problem and join together to create a new plan to build and protect manufacturing of life-saving medication domestically.

The problem has long been gestating.

Drug manufacturing has largely moved overseas—mostly to China and India—leaving few drug ingredients or finished drugs produced here.

Even of those finished drugs that are produced here, estimates are that over 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in the drugs come from foreign nations, mainly China.

That is just a guess, as the FDA itself doesn’t even know.

And while estimates are that over 80 percent of API may come from foreign nations, in the case of many antibiotics and drugs that treat high blood pressure, China is the sole source of API.

Making it worse, while many generic drugs are produced in India—estimates are 70 percent or more—they also use API from China.

Widely circulated testimony from Rosemary Gibson, senior advisor at the Hastings Center and author of “China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine,” brought concerns about China’s control of API to our nation’s leading policymakers in July 2019.

(Amidst the #coronavirus epidemic, I sat down with #RosemaryGibson, author of China RX: exposing the risks of America’s dependence on China for medicine.We discussed how this dependence happened; what danger it would bring to the American public if the coronavirus epidemic continues for an extensive period of time; and if such dominance in medicine could be weaponized by the Chinese government after all? Courtesy of Zooming In with Simone Gao and YouTube. Posted on Feb 26, 2020.)

Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, she stated that within a matter of days, China could bring the work of U.S. hospitals—military or otherwise—to a standstill.

Without guaranteed access to API, we are finding that our ability to respond to a global public health crisis is compromised.

What’s more, China can play on this weakness as it seeks to tout its economic and military prowess.


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