February 27, 2024

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Right, and Tina Smith, D-Minn., Speak to attendees at a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on September 25, 2018.

Tom Williams | CQ Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images

Sens Elizabeth Warren, Tina Smith and Marco Rubio on Thursday reintroduced two laws to secure the U.S. drug supply chain by reducing reliance on China and other nations for the supply of life-saving drugs and vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that 80% of manufacturers who make drug ingredients are based outside of the United States, many of them in China and India. Although the agency has closely monitored the supply chain, it does not have a clear understanding of where drug components are made.

There was a shortage of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients in the US during the pandemic as demand increased but supply was disrupted due to factory closures and delays in shipping.

“In order to overcome the current COVID-19 crisis and better equip the USA against future pandemics, we must increase our country’s production capacity.” Warren, D-Mass., Said. “Our bill will end our over-reliance on foreign countries and give us the tools we need to create the critical medicines that millions of Americans depend on here at home.”

Warren and Smith, D-Minn., First introduced the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Defense and Improvement Act in June 2020.

The bill requires the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and Secretary of Defense to establish a confidential list of “critical drugs”, allocate $ 5 billion to invest in domestic manufacturing, and require drug manufacturers to report the source of their materials to the FDA.

Senators Warren and Rubio, R-Fla., Are also improving legislation first introduced last year to order the Federal Trade Commission and Treasury Department to conduct a study of the US Foreign Investment Committee.

“COVID-19 has made it painfully clear that we need to pass meaningful laws to help rebuild our country’s medical manufacturing and pharmaceuticals sectors,” said Rubio.

The bill is designed to understand how foreign direct investment from overseas affects the country’s ability to manufacture medicines, as well as US genome sequencing and DNA storage.

President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Act calls for $ 30 billion in investment to protect Americans from future pandemics. This includes efforts to bring pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing back to the United States

The legislator fears that foreign manufacturers could restrict the supply of critical pharmaceutical components or even stop them altogether if geopolitical tensions increase. Bad actors could manipulate drugs to make them ineffective or to arm them.