The order urges purchasers to buy American-made products and loosens federal drug-safety and environmental regulations that the administration says disadvantage domestic producers, among other measures.
“I want to lay out my vision to bring millions and millions more jobs and thousands more factories back to American shores, where they belong,” Trump said at a
The drugs and devices covered by the order are expected to include medicines used to respond to a public-health emergency or biohazard attack, among others. White House trade adviser
“We’re dangerously overdependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines, for medical supplies like masks, gloves, goggles and the like, and medical equipment like ventilators,” Navarro said. “Across the world we have sweatshop labor, we have pollution havens, we have tax havens, which have pulled our manufacturing offshore particularly for pharmaceuticals.”
Generics account for 90% of drugs taken by Americans and they don’t often have high profit margins. Building capacity to produce pharmaceuticals in the U.S. is expensive, and it was unclear whether the incentives outlined in the order would be strong enough to overcome the significant economic obstacles likely to be faced by new domestic manufacturers.
“Careful implementation will be key to avoid driving up prices while strengthening supply chain security,” the
Health-care providers have struggled to get the drugs or equipment they need during the pandemic because so many are made overseas. Researchers and lawmakers have decried that reliance on foreign suppliers for years, but public outcry over drug and equipment shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic has increased attention on the issue.
“During the the course of the next four years, we will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home,” Trump said at the Whirlpool plant. “We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe that could one day deny us products in a time of need.”
The administration recently awarded a $765 million contract to
Navarro said the order “establishes a base level of demand to attract a level of investment sufficient to provide for the needs we have for these things in times of trouble.”
The FDA has said about 80% of the key building blocks for medicine, called active pharmaceutical ingredients, come from outside the U.S. A large portion are made in China and India, countries where the FDA has discovered product-quality issues stemming from poor manufacturing practices.
Millions of blood-pressure drugs with ingredients made in China and India were recalled starting two years ago after it was discovered they contained chemicals that can cause cancer.
The Pentagon has also raised concern that relying on China for pharmaceutical ingredients is a national security risk. In addition, the pandemic has revealed how disruption in other countries can leave Americans vulnerable after India temporarily halted the export of some products that could be needed to treat Covid-19 patients.
The FDA can do unannounced inspections of drug plants in the U.S., but not in China or India, Navarro said. “That’s not going to happen anymore,” he said.
The FDA had started doing unannounced inspections in India several years ago, but abruptly stopped without explanation in 2015. During that effort, the agency increased its most serious citations to pharmaceutical companies in the country by 60%, according to Iowa Republican Senator
The order will have the FDA and
(Updates with Trump, Chamber of Commerce remarks from third paragraph)
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