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Friday, Feb 26, 2021

US senators seek review of drug supply chain, citing over-reliance on China

Lawmakers to introduce bill requiring government to study effects of relying on foreign companies and investment for production of pharmaceuticals. Trump has long pledged to bring US manufacturing back from overseas, but pandemic has spurred flurry of new activity

Republican and Democratic US senators called for a government analysis of foreign influence in the US pharmaceutical supply chain on Tuesday, saying the coronavirus pandemic has exposed an over-reliance on China and other countries for the production of essential drugs.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren will introduce the US Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Review Act on Tuesday.

The bill would require the government to study the effects of relying on foreign companies and foreign investment for the production of pharmaceuticals for the US market, and provide a report within one year, according to a copy of the legislation seen by Reuters.

“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,” Warren said in a statement.

China is one of the countries that invests in US drug companies, but the senators are also interested in getting a view of all foreign investment in the US pharmaceutical industry, an aide said.

Republican President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring US manufacturing back from overseas, but the coronavirus and concern about dependence on imports, particularly from China, has spurred a flurry of new activity.

China overtook the United States as the world’s top manufacturing country in 2010 and was responsible for 28 per cent of global output in 2018, according to United Nations data.

Rubio, a leading congressional proponent of tougher China policy, said the report required by the bill would provide information necessary to address supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce over-reliance on China for pharmaceuticals.

The bill would require the Federal Trade Commission and the Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to conduct the study.


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