America’s Medical Supply Vulnerabilities

Our Reliance on Foreign Medical Supplies Is a National Security Threat

In wake of the coronavirus epidemic and the supply shortages that have come with it, many are rightly asking why the United States is still reliant on foreign countries like China for necessary medical equipment, life-saving medicine, and a whole host of other things. China could decide at any time to withhold the necessary things we need to survive as a society, and until manufacturing comes back to America, we are still beholden to the policy whims of the Communist Chinese government.

There is bipartisan support to pass new legislation to make this happen fast and efficiently, so the United States is not reliant on Chinese products and other foreign manufactured necessities.  While the United States is home to some of the most intelligent and successful business minds in the world, it seems many of them made poor decisions and have risked Americans security and health just to save a penny on manufacturing products. 

You would be surprised how dependent we are on Chinese production.  The FDA has already announced a drug shortage due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Many of our most important drug ingredients, gowns, gloves, N95 face masks, and hand sanitizers are only made in foreign countries such as China because they are cheaper to make there than the US. We could have medical supply chain issues as well as drug and medical device shortages, as China literally has the power anytime they want to kill millions of Americans or send us into an economic recession by refusing to supply basic goods to us. The US must be able to manufacture medical drugs and devices such as blood pressure bills, insulin, and antibiotics needed to keep Americans alive as well as save lives.

The security of our medical supply chain is being addressed in Congress. Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a bill, “The Medical Supply Chain Security Act” to fix the US medical supply chain so that the US is not reliant on China for production. Recently, Senator Josh Hawley wrote to the FDA stating that, “the degree to which some of our own manufacturers rely on China to produce life-saving and life-sustaining medications is inexcusable. It is becoming clear to me that both oversight hearings and additional legislation are necessary to determine the extent of our reliance on Chinese production and protect our medical product supply chain.” Hawley’s bill has bipartisan support, as Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wiss.) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wiss.) have introduced companion legislation to this act. 

President Trump and the media are also addressing the concern that necessities are not being produced in the US, because recently, China prevented the export of face masks.  President Trump will most likely issue an executive order titled “Buy American” to prevent federal agencies from purchasing supplies outside the US. Tucker Carlson discussed on his evening Fox program with Senator Josh Hawley that we need new legislation to allow the FDA to figure out what parts and components are made in China and where we have drug shortages. We also need the FDA to speed up the process of replacements. Recently, Congressman Marco Rubio (R-Fla), explained on Fox News that China has hinted at denying Americans life-saving coronavirus drugs. Americans should be alarmed and appalled at this situation, because offshoring is putting Americans at serious risk. 

The US Congress and President Trump must act on securing our medical supply chain and prevent our dependence on China and other foreign countries. We have the capacity to make our own life saving necessities here in the US. Americans should demand that their elected officials act on this emergency before it is too late. 

Written by Meghan McNulty

Meghan McNulty is a contributor to The Schpiel.


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